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Fight with Them – Why Fighting is Important for Relationships

We have all been there before. Your partner, spouse, friend, teammate, etc get into it. You get upset and hurt. And they do to.

For those who have been or are in a romantic relationship: All couples or polycules argue. For this unfamiliar with what a polycule is, that is the term for people involved in a polyamorous relationship.

When you get hurt by someone who is close to you, fight with them.

That’s right. Fight with them. Fighting is a form of communication and when you fight with someone you are saying what you need to say or what needs to be said between you and the other person.

We fear fighting with someone because we think of it as a bad thing so we sometimes avoid it or use it to cause harm. Fighting is actually a good thing and can improve your relationships!

Communication is the core of any relationship and a relationship simply cannot exist without it. We need it to be able to have discourse instead of disrespect.

The opposite of fighting is silence. Silence is what destroys relationships. Silence cuts out the other person out and creates a gap between you two. This causes a disconnect between each other which exacerbates the situation.

A hard lesson I learned this year was there is a difference between “space” and “silence”. I used to think I was giving space to myself but in actuality I was cutting people out with silence. That caused harm to people I care about and love.

It is important to to know how to fight properly though as not all fighting is helpful. Unhealthy types of fighting can make the situation even worse and cause irreparable damage.

Let’s discuss 10 ways to fight effectively:

  1. Space is okay!. If you are heated, step away from the person or situation until your logical brain kicks in. You have to come back to the fight though. Fight when you have cooled down. Silence is ignoring the issue and we can’t ignore it.
  2. Identify a common goal. You two may be fighting but you likely have a shared goal that lies beneath the fight. Finding common ground makes it easier and more effective in humanizing each other and connecting.
  3. Fighting should never be physical, mental or emotional abuse. This specific type of fighting is addressing the issue that you both are experiencing. If you are in danger, get out of that situation and find safety.
  4. Use “I” statements. “I saw”, “I feel” “I need” “I want” etc. I statements keeps the environment safe for the other person because you sharing your perspective. Using “you” statements can come across as accusatory and people go into fight-or-fight when they are accused of something and/or feel like their character is attacked.
  5. Avoid using absolutes like “always” and “never”. The reality is none of us “always” or “never” do something. This is a damning statement that doesn’t help the person receiving it because they will have examples of where that isn’t true.
  6. Address people’s behaviors, not their character. Make it about what happened, not who the person is. Those are two vastly different fights and the latter will not have the success we want.
  7. If you need to go to bed angry, then do it. You don’t have to force resolution if you aren’t there. A good night’s sleep, or some sleep, will help calm you down and look at the situation differently.
  8. Don’t hit below the belt. In any relationship, we know what is off limits. Honor that. Stay above the belt to keep the fight clean. If we hit below the belt, we could really hurt someone and that should never be the intention.
  9. Avoid using aggression. Aggression, using a threatening manner, will damage your relationship and cause people to feel unsafe around you.
  10. It is okay to be argumentative. This is actually a positive quality because it is a constructive approach to addressing the issue at hand in a healthy way.

Learning to fight effectively builds your confidence in your ability to communicate and in turn makes you more resilient when you have challenges where someone has hurt you. You strengthen your communication skills which allows you to effectively express your wants, needs, thoughts and feelings to others. This allows you to better understand yourself.

Fighting is a way to repair a relationship. It can help us go back to a point before the issue came up and impacted the relationship. If we do not repair the relationship. then this can lead to dissatisfaction of the relationship or the dissolution of the relationship.

When we fight effectively, we create an opportunity to learn more about the other person and how they perceive the fight and what led to it. You get to learn more about their wants, needs, thoughts and feelings which are equally as important as yours!

Fighting with someone shows that you actually care. It communicates that you are committed to the health of the relationship and that person.

Fighting can also those involved to reconsider if the relationship they are in is the right one or what it means to be in that relationship. This is prominent in work relationships that may need expectations realignment.

In my line of work, I have found that creating ground rules for fights with people you care about can go a long way to keep the fight effective and not making it personal.

Check out my blog post on conflict to dig deeper into this topic.

I am also here to support you as a coach in your relationships and well-being. Click here to schedule a free consultation.

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