Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on March 7th, 2014

Stop an Argument [Ben's Productivity Podcast]

The Most Effective Way to End an Argument

Welcome to the podcast, today is fast Friday and I want to share with you the fastest way to stop an argument with your spouse. And this actually works really well at work too, but in this context I just wanted to talk about it in a relationship with someone you're married to or you're significant other. And whenever my wife and I are in an argument, as arguments digress, they usually become arguments about arguing and what you said, and what you said and how you said it, what you meant, and yes you did, no you didn't, all that good stuff. It's not productive and so the quicker you can end an argument and move on to a more productive outcome-based discussion, the faster you can get on with your life and the happier you'll be in that relationship. So, I discovered something quite by accident one time when we were having an argument and I just said to my wife, I said "Beverly, I love you." And I said it sincerely, and I said it from a much happier place than I really felt at the moment, but she almost just started back and just looked at me with this expression of incredulity on her face because we had just been going at it. And I come to find out, I found out that this is called a pattern interrupt and what it does is it interrupts the thought process of the person and it really gets them to start to think in a different way and that pattern interrupts very, very quickly into that argument and we were onto better things. Of course, in your own thought processes, if you find yourself really down on someone or discouraged, I encourage you, and what really works for me is to try to think of things that I'm really grateful for about that person. Whether it's my wife, or someone at work, I find that I cannot be angry at them, or frustrated with them and grateful at the same time. I'm not saying that there may not be things that I need to address, and things we need to take care of, but quite simply that anger, that blinding anger just goes away. You know, that pattern interrupt works in a lot of contexts even if it's at the office, you can say something like, "you know what, I really am grateful for the work that you do. I think that you are doing a fantastic job in X, Y, and Z." It will startle people, it will set them back, and it really changes the conversation. So, for this fast Friday, I encourage you next time you find yourself in that situation to use a pattern interrupt.

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