We’ve all been there. Our opinion is completely different to the other person’s. It could be a discussion on COVID-19; a separation; or at work. If the discussion atmosphere then becomes tense, an argument is usually unavoidable. When we feel pressurized, our principles of respect, equality, and empathy can go out the window. So what are the options when the situation takes a turn for the worse and you’re forced to bite your tongue harder and harder? This month we provide five valuable tips on how to handle arguments and keep your cool in conflict situations, followed by another five next month.

1. Arguing is human
Arguing is a basic fact of life. Seeing conflict situations as something normal can make them feel less dramatic, allowing you to keep your cool.

2. Arguing makes us human
Oftentimes, our feelings are our own worst enemies in conflict situations. So it can be helpful to hit the “stop” button and take a moment to reflect on what feelings the current situation is generating. A separation discussion can, for example, bring up memories of negative past experiences or existential fears about the future.

3. Arguing unites people
This sounds strange but is a fact, since every conflict involves an exchange of deep emotions. No matter whether fear, sorrow, or anger, always remember that the other person also has feelings and is probably hurting just as bad as you are.

4. Arguing can put relationships at risk
Whether an argument makes a relationship stronger or possibly even destroys it, depends on how you argue. Always bear in mind how important the other person is to you. Try to remain respectful even when arguing.

5. Arguing can escalate
Every argument also has the potential to resolve issues. Don’t wait until things become so bad that there is no longer any way back.