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The Best Way to Avoid an Argument and Have a Difficult Conversation
How focusing on the right thing to say makes it easy to forget a key factor in resolving conflict
A friend called yesterday anxious about an upcoming conversation with his wife.
Historically, talking about this one specific problem never ended well.
They would always end in an argument.
He wanted to brainstorm what to say.
Instead, I asked where they usually had these conversations.
Confused at the relevance of my question, he answered, “At home.”
I then asked where they had the best conversations about difficult subjects.
He didn’t answer me directly but shared a story about once visiting a spa.
Somehow, they opened up into a deeper conversation.
A client last week was also preparing for a difficult conversation with her husband; one that typically ended in a fight.
She wanted to know what to say.
As we explored the topic, I asked “When and where do you usually talk about these things?”
Her response was that they always talked about things in the kitchen after their daughter was in bed. As we unpacked the layers, she realized that the kitchen and house had a whole lot of triggers for them both.
I recall a particularly challenging conversation I once had in the workplace with a colleague.
Stress grew into frustration, which quickly became dismissive.
All of this could have been avoided through more awareness of the setting and conditions that lead to healthy dialogue.
What makes a conversation work?
It is easy to think the key dimension of a difficult conversation is what to say and how to say it.
From my own experience, there are four main factors at play:
- The emotional state of each person.
- The physical space in which the conversation occurs.
- Clarity in what to communicate.
- The ability to listen non-judgmentally.
From experience, we tend to focus on 3 and 4.
In actuality, it is the first two factors that provide the environment and conditions that make communication easy.
And, if the first two aren’t looked after, the latter will be very difficult to establish.
It is like walking across a freshly frozen lake after the first frost — it won’t be long before the ground gives way.
It is important to establish a strong and stable environment and ground on which to have difficult conversations.
Difficult conversations don’t only happen in intimate relationships.
They also happen between friends and colleagues.
Being aware of the impact of space on someone’s emotional safety and state is important.
When an environment triggers
Any environment can have triggers.
Whether a household or a workplace, the space can be reminders of unfinished business (unwashed dishes), past challenging conversations, and even power imbalances.
When having a difficult conversation in the home, the space itself almost becomes an invisible third person.
Without knowing it, it is easy to bring aspects that aren’t relevant to the conversation in when triggered by the space.
Furthermore, having difficult conversations in the home can also pollute the space.
Waking up the next day can trigger a reminder of the conversation the night before. Have too many of those and the feeling is hard to shake.
The right time
Creating the right conditions is about finding the right time as much as the right place.
This can be particularly challenging for parents who need to wait for when the children are in bed.
Having difficult conversations when tired or late at night may not always be best for being in the best emotional state.
Choosing a time when both parties are relaxed, alert, and prepared is helpful.
Finding a time and a place to be out of the house and away from family responsibilities can be valuable.
Seeking support to look after children can be helpful.
The best place
This article is not meant to be prescriptive as the best time and location may be different for everyone. A better way to explore this may be to ask the question:
What places have you noticed to be most effective in creating a sense of connection and opening up a deep conversation?
I know some people who find road trips to be great ways to have deep conversations.
Conversely, I know of others for whom this doesn’t work at all.
Car trips can be very claustrophobic if one party feels they cannot escape.
One partner and I would go for a nature walk to chat about difficult subjects.
Walking allowed us to have our own time for thinking between pauses in conversation, and nature has an easy way of disarming tension.
A friend recently realized that she and her children were constantly having difficult conversations about their absent father.
She realized how present his energy was in the house.
Choosing to take these important conversations outside to the patio helped to not bring that energy into the home.
Treating space as sacred
For me, the home is a sacred space.
I am conscious about who I invite into it and the kinds of conversations I have there.
It isn’t about avoiding difficult conversations, and inevitably deeper conversations will open up in the home.
In those cases, I embrace the experience and do my best.
I’ve also learned to be conscious about creating space that works for both parties.
It is important to not assume that what works for you may not work for the other person.
And equally, workplaces can be treated as sacred spaces as well.
In one workplace we had a large park next door.
We’d often go outside to the park to have difficult conversations.
It was a neutral place that didn’t carry the power imbalances of a traditional office.
Reflecting on what works for you
Before trying this in your own relationships, perhaps start by thinking about both the places where your best and most difficult conversations happen.
Do you notice any patterns?
Then, once you have this understanding, you can share your experience and ask the same questions of your friends, partner, or colleague.
Creating awareness of when and where conversations are most healthy and conducive for you can help set you up for success.
15 Psychological Secrets of Attraction
Attraction is a tricky thing to figure out.
For decades, psychologists all over the world have been discovering and decoding more and more about love and attraction each and every day.
These facts may help you when you try your hand at flirting.
According to science, attraction is one of the most studied parts, and there is a strong relationship between attraction and love. But what makes a…
If you’re trying to attract the one who is special to you but isn’t exactly sure how to get them like you, give these psychology-based dating tips a spin, then you can definitely spark interest there at first.
1. Body language tells a lot
“Body language is a shortcut to show how you feel.”
Communication is the key to every relationship.
When we talk about communication, someone’s body language tells a lot about that person.
Having powerful and confident body language can make you seem more attractive.
When you’re talking to someone, do they seem relaxed, open, and are facing towards you?
Or do they show contractive body postures like crossing arms or hunching shoulders?
In general, people who seem friendly or conversational will appear more attractive than those who appear cold.
Most people don’t understand the value of body language.
We might close our body language unconsciously, such as crossed arms or checking a phone in front of our chest, which shows that we are unavailable to others.
When we feel mentally closed off, we tend to be used closed body postures, but if we want to look more attractive, we have to use open body postures.
For that, you can use some simple technics like keeping your torso, chest, and abdomen open. Remember, Open body language is more attractive than any other outfit, so wear it wisely.
2. Eye contact is everything
Similar to our earlier point, Eye contact is the key way to starting the attraction process.
When you gaze deeply into another person’s eyes, it will increase oxytocin level, which is called “love hormone.
Oxytocin is literally produced in the heart, and it will also increase the attraction when it releases.
And you may have noticed that when someone is attracted, their pupils dilate more.
It’s also related to an increase in oxytocin and dopamine.
“The quickest way to enter into a person’s heart is through their eyes.”
3. Use your voice for your advantage
When you are talking to someone who is attracted, you may have noticed their voice changes slightly. Women tend to find lower-pitched and deeper voices more masculine and attractive, while the opposite is true for men.
Let me tell you a secret if you want to impress your potential partner, whisper, “I love you” into their left ear.
A study found that recall was higher when emotional stimuli entered the left ear than the right ear.
According to a study of McMaster University, the tone of a woman’s voice increases when she’s flirting.
When you speak with one another, keep this point in mind.
4. Ask a lot of questions and repeat their name
When you are in a conversation with your potential partner, saying and repeating their name will get their utmost attention.
When you call someone by their name, they immediately turn towards you, and they will feel personally close to you.
When you are getting someone’s attention or making someone aware of you, it is essential to appear attractive in front of them.
The more you get their attention, the more chances you’ll get to attract them.
Now you know to get their attention, after that you need to build a bond with them.
For that, you have to ask questions about them, and when someone asks about yourself and your thoughts, it shows their level of interest in you.
5. Use the mirror effect
The easiest way to be attractive in front of your interest is simply by mimicking their behavior.
When someone is attracted to you, we subconsciously adopt some of their mannerisms and behaviors.
This simple and effective strategy is called the chameleon effect in psychology.
We can consciously use this concept to create attraction.
You might hold your coffee cup like them or even mimic their stance or same phrases like they do. Then they will subconsciously see you as an attractive, likable person.
People tend to like others they have more in common with, and it will help you to create deeper connections with that person.
When you use this strategy, don’t make it seem too obvious.
6. Signs of health are important
How important is physical health in attraction?
When it comes to dating, most people are subconsciously attracted to those who look healthy or fertile.
Most studies show that men are more attracted to women who appear healthier, for example, have brighter eyes, clearer skin, and full lips.
While women also look for signs of health, such as athleticism, broad shoulders, and narrow hips. Physical attractiveness and these cues substantially predict health.
However, looks play a part, but a healthy relationship isn’t about how a person looks, but how a person behaves.
7. Self-confident and self-awareness play a big role
Confidence is another key to being more attractive in the eyes of others, right?
When someone has an expansive body posture perceived as confident and attractive by others.
Having confidence means trusting in your abilities and aptitude to rise above a challenge.
On the other hand, Self-awareness means trusting who you are, and it shows that you are comfortable with yourself.
It can make you seem more attractive than others. In other words, having self-confidence and Self-awareness simply increases attraction.
8. Spend more time together
Have you ever noticed that people gradually become more attractive the more time you spend with them?
What is the scientific reason behind this?
According to psychology, this strategy is known as the exposure effect.
According to the mere-exposure effect, people tend to like other people who are near or familiar to them. You can use this simple concept to your advantage by spending a lot of time with the person you want to be attracted to.
9. Highlight your similarities to each other
Psychological similarity theory states that you will subconsciously bond together when you have something in common with someone.
We also know this phenomenon as the similarity-attraction effect.
Whether that’s your shared Love for swimming, food, or a place, you are more likely to spend time with someone if they enjoy the same things.
When you have a common ground, it makes you appear attractive.
10. Smile and display some sense of humor
According to a study of the University of Wyoming, regardless of your body position, having a smile on your face makes you more attractive to others.
And also, if you smile when you first meet someone, it helps them to remember you later.
The Humor Effect is another psychological phenomenon.
According to this, using humor when you first meet someone causes other people to remember things better and more positively.
11. Hang out in a group
When you take a selfie and capture a group photo with friends, which makes it more attractive to the people?
It might come as a surprise, and the group photo will make you look more attractive.
It is a psychological phenomenon known as the cheerleader effect.
In other words, people feel that an individual is more attractive when they are hanging out in a group.
12. Other people’s opinions matter
It relates to our above point as well.
People more easily accept the opinion of other people, or they like to do something primarily because other people are doing it.
In psychologically, this phenomenon is known as the bandwagon effect.
Advertisers use this concept a lot to change consumer behavior, and you can also use this strategy to attract the person you want.
Therefore, if you can spread the idea that you both look like a matching couple, or you’re a hottie and a catch, they are also more likely to believe it!
13. Use the power of touch
As humans, we know physical touch is one of the best subliminal communication and love language.
When you are attracted to someone, you’ll unconsciously try to remove all physical barriers between you two just to touch them.
For example, when you’re at a restaurant, your partner moves aside all physical barriers to create a clear pathway between you across the table just to hold your hand.
In a conversation, Women may lightly touch their partner’s arm while a man might place his hand on the crook of their partner’s elbow.
Yes, all seemingly innocent actions, but if you notice it’s frequent, it’s a sign of attraction.
14. Be warm
This point may come off as a strange fact, but according to Princeton University psychologists, people often associate temperature with the person they are with.+
If you can portray yourself as warm, people take you as a person who they can trust.
On your first date, if you can try to hold a warm cup of coffee or a warm drink instead of a cold one, if you do this, your partner will see you as more generous and caring, and that leaves a warm first impression on your potential partner.
15. Wear red
The color red is often associated with energy and attractiveness, and it is the color of love.
According to the study by Andrew J Elliot and Daniela Niesta men, are more likely to be attracted to women who are wearing red.
You may have noticed a lot of Celebrities used to a lot of red dresses.
So why aren’t you?
It may not be your favorite color, but if you want to attract someone, red is the color you can possibly wear.
The attraction has a lot of different facets to it, some that are quite mysterious.
We hope this article was able to shed some light on these mysterious elements.
Above all else, in this world, each person is unique try to figure out your uniqueness and show it and wear it proudly.
When you do so, people will find you more attractive.
Always try to be yourself, and that is the best thing you can do! Your uniqueness makes you attractive!
- Fugère, M. A., Leszczynski, J. P., & Cousins, A. J. (2014). The Social Psychology of Attraction and Romantic Relationships (2015th ed.). Red Globe Press.
- Goleman, B. (2020). Dark Psychology 6 Books In 1. Independently Published.