Sometimes it pays to slow things right down
If you feel like you’re trapped in a circle when it comes to having an argument with your partner - or that it’s needlessly escalating - one relationship expert has advised that this question could stop the feud in its tracks.
Marriage and family therapist Lauren Consol, from California, is well known for her TikTok videos which share relationship advice.
In her video ‘Stop an argument with this question’, which has now been liked over 4K times, the pro says: “The next time you and your partner are talking and your partner gets defensive, I want you to do this.”
First, Consol advises that you both immediately pause the argument to prevent it going any further, before asking: “I want to understand what happened there - what did you hear me say?’”
According to Consol, this question does two crucial things.
“First, it allows for clarification,” she explains. “A lot of times when we become defensive, we’ve interpreted something our partner has said incorrectly.
“We’ve run it through the wrong filter, we’ve told ourselves the wrong story, it’s triggered something... so we’re not actually hearing what our partner has said or meant.”
Secondly, Consol shares, is that in the instance your partner has correctly understood what you meant, the question gives an opportunity for you to slow things right down and address the underlying issue “rather than get caught in a spiral of defensiveness.”
Many other TikTok users took to the comments section of the video to share their thoughts, with one writing: “My wife and I do it slightly differently by saying ‘what I’m hearing you say is’, to let the other person check our understanding - we rarely argue now.”
The same question can be applied to arguments with family members and friends - and Consol’s advice might even make your Christmas period a little easier.