How to Defuse an Argument Instantly

Katie Couric
Global Anchor
Katie's Take

Katie's Take

Somewhere between Edith and Archie Bunker and June and Ward Cleaver you'll find all the rest of American couples.  Not fighting constantly, but not on a permanent honeymoon, either.

The average couple argues 312 times a year.  Sometimes it's about big things like money and child raising, but most of the time it's probably as simple as what to have for dinner or what movie to see on Friday.

Psychotherapist Rachel Sussman says it's always a good idea to pick and choose your battles and moments.  Think before you speak, decide if this is the appropriate time to take a stand and if it's worth the fight.  If not, it's usually wiser to hold your tongue.

At the same time, it's never a good idea to keep all of your feelings bottled up—they could eventually build up to a needlessly explosive altercation.

When you do vocalize your argument, Rachel says you should use language that isn't accusatory, but helps your partner understand the way their actions made you feel instead. Talk about your experience, instead of why the other person is wrong, otherwise he or she will feel attacked and get defensive.  Also, address your partner in a calm way, with a straight voice.  Rachel even encourages using humor to deflect an altercation!

In the end, winning an argument with your partner shouldn't be the ultimate goal.  Compromise is crucial for couples, and Rachel urges people to put their relationship ahead of being right.