Just recently, Alla and I faced a huge argument. What started as stating an opinion turned into raising voices and trying to prove who’s right or wrong. I could feel the tension rising from my stomach to my heart to my head.
The logical voice in my head was being pushed aside by all the emotions as I was feeling. I could hear it say, “This is escalating. You’ve got to step back.” But I refused to listen. I egged on and wanted to have answers.
We went back and forth, vomiting words harsher than the last one, voice and tone stronger than the last one.
Until finally, there was silence. We finally ran out of words but I could still feel that negative air looming. This was far from over.
We both headed to our own corners, angry and high-strung.
Most of the time, we are aware when things start to escalate - when discussions are pivoting to arguments. We can usually take a step back and say, wait, this is turning into an argument, make a u-turn and come to good solution.
This one was different. We let things escalate and it turned into a full-blown conflict. The conversation did not end with a solution at hand. We both had to step away with raging emotions.
We had to calm ourselves down.
We both learned a lot of things here:
Sometimes, discussions become heated and sometimes pointing that out to try and pivot you both back makes it worse. Arguments and conflicts WILL happen. It’s only a matter of when.
While it is ideal to be able to resolve things within that meeting, sometimes, people need to be separated, take a step back and reflect on things on their own. One thing’s for sure, you must come back to it when everyone’s calm and resolve the issue.
It is not enough to say sorry. You must take turns to express how you perceived and understood what was happening, and be open to understanding and listening to how it was from the other person’s point of view. There’s no right or wrong here. These are perceptions and they are all valid.
Take a moment to ask each other, what could I have done differently or what can I do better?
Once that’s out and it’s clear that you both have a full understanding of what happened, go and start again. Discuss what you intended to discuss in the first place.
Brainstorm for solutions or the next steps. Come to an agreement and be very clear on that.
I know that we’ll have more arguments and conflicts in the future. Emotions will rage and fly because we are human after all. It takes practice to not take things personally and look at things at an objective point of view.
We cannot avoid it but what matters is we’ll be more prepared to handle them. As long as both of us are open to listening and understanding each other, each conflict we’ll help us learn and grow.