Arguing is a destructive by-product of human interaction. Between nations, it can lead to war and mayhem. Between couples it can lead to heartbreak and divorce. 

How is negotiating different from arguing? 

Arguing or fighting typically has the proponents impassioned to the point of trying to obliterate each other by out shouting them or, if out of control, knocking each other out. This amounts to screaming over each other’s words. Not a great strategy as no one is listening when that happens.

Seeking to overpower the other person may result in the other person simply walking away from the situation. The result is simple. One side wins, the other is wounded, and sometimes the relationship is impaired or harmed mortally.

If you are involved in a marital or family argument, it is important to understand that every person has differing personality traits that impact how they deal with anger. One is the time it takes to get mad and to cool down. Many get mad quickly but get over it just as quickly. Others are slow to ignite but simmer for days!

A couple needs to learn the “arguing” style of the other to better understand how he or she will fight once made mad.

Respect is a key part of any relationship and granting enough time or space for the other party to cool off is part of respecting their needs. To demand the argument end on your timing is to selfishly want things your way and may result in a far greater argument than the original issue. It is smart not to press for a settlement or resolution until both parties are ready to agree. 

When conflicts between a parent and child or a husband and wife repeatedly escalate beyond control, destructive words and acts often become the norm. This mutual verbal abuse will serve to slowly destroy their relationship. Even though the more powerful parent may prevail, the underlying war will ultimately be lost as the feelings that bind the relationship may eventually die. 

In business it is not acceptable to kill one’s opponent even though that is often the desired outcome! 

Business conflict is typically resolved through negotiations. Whether the negotiation is over a building lease or pay raise, the process is the same. 

It stands to reason that many think that effective negotiators are those with absolute power and the willingness to use it! But this is not negotiating. It is brandishing power and forcing others to comply.

Effective negotiators know that few have absolute power and work to develop tools and techniques to help them improve their negotiating results. Arguing is not the best negotiating tool. It is destructive to clear communications and can hurt the relationship between the parties. It should be avoided whenever possible. 

In Seven Secrets to WINNING Without Losing a Friend, I discuss how the destructive aspect off arguing at work, at home and between friends.

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