Seven Tips for Fair Fighting

1. Keep it private - It is important to keep it private.  Do not fight in front of others, especially children.  If there are children involved, it can scar them emotionally.  Contain your emotions until you have the opportunity to fight in private.

2. Keep it relevant - It is crucial to stick to the argument at hand.  Do not bring up old grudges or sore points when they are not part of the current argument.  Ensure boundaries are put up around the subject matter so that the fight doesn’t move into a free-for-all argument.

3. Keep it real - Deal with the issue at hand, not with a symptom of the problem.  Many times during arguments people will fight about something as simple as the garbage being taken out.  The fight isn’t really about the garbage; it is about the deeper message when the garbage doesn’t get taken out “you don’t care about me”.  Be real about what is bothering you.

4. Avoid character assassination - Stay focused on the issue, rather than taking it to the point of attacking on a personal level – I consider this below-the-belt fighting.  Do not under any circumstances resort to name-calling.

5. Allow the other person to retreat with dignity - How an argument ends is crucial.  Be aware of when someone is giving an apology and do your best to accept the apology in order to end the disagreement.

6. Be proportional in your intensity - Everything you argue about will not be the worst argument; so don’t make it worse than it is.  This is about picking what’s important so to speak.  You don’t need to get angry every time you have the right to be.  

7. There’s a time limit - Arguments should be temporary, so don’t let them get out of hand and carry on for longer than necessary.  In other words, don’t let the argument continue on indefinitely.