Arguments can spiral out of control quickly… having agreements and signals ahead of time can make a huge difference. Letting your partner know what triggers you have and learning theirs, can help you resolve things lots faster! Cathy Vartuli from and Reid Mihalko from share.

Here’s the link to the Cool Down Styles article:

Cathy: One of our viewers wrote in and said, I’m wondering if I’m weird. I love to have- yeah if you watch us you’re probably weird.

Reid: If you’re watching us, you’re weird.

Cathy: He wanted to know if he was weird because when he’s in a relationship, early on, he likes to establish argument guidelines with his partners.

Reid: Okay.

Cathy: And know ahead of time what things might trigger each of them and have signals for like, whoa I need a few minutes or, I’m going to go cool off or things like that.

Reid: Okay.

Cathy: I’m Cathy Vartuli from

Reid: I’m Reid Mihalko from Basically they have a pitcher catcher signal thing in baseball.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: That’s not weird.

Cathy: I think it’s brilliant. Knowing- if you know your triggers in an argument and you can share them with your partner and invite them to share, you’re going to … For me, raised voices are a big trigger. I know that if someone raises a voice, even if they’re not mad at me, I’m going to be like … not as present and not as able to engage in the conversation.

If you can share that with your partner ahead of time and have a signal to remind them, like time out or let’s take a minute-

Reid: I like this one …

Cathy: It’s so respectful and encouraging, yes. I encourage you to identify your triggers and have signals. You talk about cool down styles which I think is really powerful. We’ll put the link down below.

Different people need different things when they’re angry. You like to just stay present and go through it-

Reid: I can stay angry. That’s my thing. Basically, without being a jackass about this, figuring out and being able to communicate what your needs are to further the productivity of a conversation is really useful. If you need to be able to take a time out, you need to build into your relationship this means time out. Somebody having a heated discussion with you who doesn’t know why you’re doing this, is really freaking annoying.

You build in, this is how I like to handle when I get triggered. How about when you get triggered? Rather than, when you get triggered, I need you to do this, which isn’t very collaborative and doesn’t work so well. Always talk about here are the things I need that work really well for me to stay connected, to have a conversation when I get triggered.

Why that’s useful is you’re telling them it’s okay to be triggered. Let’s find a way to make this work. Then have signals to be able to communicate and ask for what you want. Sometimes you get so triggered …

Cathy: It’s hard.

Reid: You don’t have words. You need space, and the way you do that is you turn around and walk out of the room and slam the freaking door.

Cathy: If someone has abandonment issues, that’s not going to work well if they don’t know.

Reid: It’s a very clear signal, it’s just not very graceful. What are the things that you need when you get triggered in a conversation? Then what would be a graceful signal for you to be able to come up with to communicate that to whomever you’re talking to?

Cathy: Yeah. You can also evolve over time. Know that even if you set this up early in a relationship, you’ll learn each other and your styles may evolve over time. You can request new things later. One of the things I love that Reid talks about too is when you’re arguing if you want to touch a knee or keep a foot against each other so that you’re still connected, that can be really soothing and very loving.

Reid: Yeah. What I usually do is I have Cathy take her finger and put it in my ear and help me do that.

Cathy: If I’m really mad at him, I use the middle finger.

Reid: Yeah. She pushes really hard.

Cathy: It goes right through.

Reid: What are your graceful ways to signal and communicate what your needs are when you get triggered?

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Leave them below. Thanks for listening.


More articles on improving communications and relationship skills:

What Do You Do If Your Partner Lies To You Repeatedly?

Fighting Over The Same Silly Thing… Over And Over