Today I’m going to teach you how to have a fair fight with anyone, whether it’s a partner, coworker or friend. I’ll teach you:

  • The reason why tools have failed in the past (there’s a secret here that’s not going to be a secret after today)
  • My top 3 rules for having a fair, effective fight, AND
  • an awesome, easy tool you’ll be able to download to stop a fight in its tracks!

Fights vs Disagreements

A fight happens when you lose your shit in a moment. It usually comes out of nowhere and rockets very quickly into ugly territory. It’s often a small thing that turns into a huge thing. You know, when you used the last of the toilet paper and didn’t replace the roll? Or when you didn’t text when you said you would or when you forgot to bring little Bobbi’s cleats to the baseball field?

The Secret Reason This Happens

The reason you or anyone else can turn a nothing thing into WW3 is because your brain has been hijacked, and you can’t remember all those great Abby tools!

So, What’s Happening to My Brain, Abby?

When you have a fight with anyone, your brain perceives this as a threat. It doesn’t matter that the fight was about your sock being on the floor, your brain still sees these seemingly inconsequential things as acts of terror.

To turn the thinking part of your brain “on” you’ve got to do the following:

1. Be mindful in the moment so you know this is even happening!

2. Then you can do any one of a number of things to get your thinking, rational brain turned back on:

The Rules for Having a Fair, Effective Fight

Rule 1: Focus on the What, not the Who: Focus on what you’re fighting about and not the person you’re fighting with.

Rule 2: What Else are You Feeling?: Ask yourself, “What else am I feeling besides anger, resentment or frustration?”

Rule 3: Be Curious and Be Solution-Based: Don’t go in with your mind made up. Think of it as brainstorming.

Rule 4: I Lied About Three Rules: I’m going to cheat a little now because I only wanted to have three rules and these are a bunch of other little things to keep in mind and I’m grouping them all together here and asking you to pretend you didn’t notice.

  • Once you start repeating, or going around in circles, you’ve got to stop.
  • Ask more than you state. Don’t S.A.C. (make Suggestions, offer Advice, or Criticize) and focus on asking questions.
  • Don’t fight with an audience and don’t include others in your disagreement. When you speak to other people about a problem with someone, you’ll get 20 different opinions. If you’re talking shit about your partner, you’ll turn your friends and family members against them. Then, you might forgive something but your family won’t! It’s the same at the office; don’t gossip and create a negative work environment. Speak to the person you’re pissed at only or a trained professional (counselor or HR).
  • Don’t add booze or drugs to an argument.
  • Never, ever engage in any violence which includes throwing things, swearing at or threatening your partner.
  • Apologize for Real

No matter what else, do your best to keep compassion, patience and kindness at the top of your list. The best outcomes always come from that place.

Resources and Links:

The 5 Reasons Why Having a Couples’ Business Meeting Will Change Your Relationship

The 5-Step Formula for Getting to Consensus

The 10-Minute Solution: How to Stop and Argument and Start Communicating

Why Your Lizard Brain is Keeping You Stuck and Specific Tools to Start Connecting

How to Make Mindfulness a Habit

Ask Dr. Abby: My Partner Doesn’t Listen to Me

What Anxiety Really Is and How to Deal with It

3 Tips to Calm Yourself in Seconds

Stop a Fight in its Tracks

How to Apologize for Real (and Why It’s So Hard)!


Want to learn one of the quickest, easiest ways to get your brain from the fear side to the rational side when you’re in an argument? Enter your name and email to get the Wake Up Word exercise.

 Ready to find out what goes on inside that crazy mind of Abby’s? 

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