The mental state you enter during a contentious disagreement can entice you to be more blunt, direct, and maybe hurtful.
Disagreements on even the most mundane of topics can get out of emotional control. The air seems to emit of hum of sensitivity. Any brash dialogue is subject to misinterpretation and excessive reactions.
This familiar sensitivity is often successful in dragging a peaceful disagreement into the waters of contention. A simple snide remark can set off a volatile chain reaction. Voices can get raised, and personal attacks can be let loose.
Though the disagreement in question may have been trivial in nature, the first communications after such a disagreement are almost always a little awkward. If the disagreement was seriously contentious, there’s practically no hope of not having awkwardness plague the succeeding interactions you have with that individual.
This article aims to guide you through reestablishing communication with an individual after having a contentious disagreement with them.
Continue With As Normal of a Frequency of Dialogue As Possible
An assumption made on this page is that you wouldn’t want to allow a prior disagreement to wedge your relationship with this individual apart. Limiting an argument’s effects on other facets of your mutual relationship should thereby be a conscious undertaking.
A pressing metric to monitor after a heated disagreement are any changes in the frequency of your interactions with the person whom you argued with.
A lessening in the frequency of your interactions is a common effect that disagreements can have on a relationship you’ve worked hard to build with an individual.
As you suppress your interactions with an individual after a disagreement, you can further entice a previously fruitful relationship to grow numb.
Whether deliberate or not, notice any attempts by yourself to avoid those you disagree with. Though it may go against your deepest desires at the moment in time, it’s important to not allow the heat of a contextual moment to affect your general behavior toward an individual.
For instance, you’ll feel a desire to avoid the lunchroom in hopes of not running into people you disagreed with at an important meeting earlier. In other times, you’ll be motivated to skip out on social outings which are destined to bring you face to face with a friend you’ve had a heated argument with prior.
Ensure you try your best to not allow prior disagreements dictate your availability and frequency of interaction. Though it may initially be uncomfortable to bear, the longer you wait to reestablish presence, the more power it would grant the prior disagreement in its effects to wedge your relationship apart.
Quickly Admit to Any Regrets You Have About How You Conducted Yourself
As you make yourself just as available as times prior to disagreements plaguing a relationship you have with another, it may be inevitable to mention the prior disagreement.
Especially if the argument / disagreement was particularly heated, ignoring it in hopes of letting it pass can produce the opposite effect.
Ignoring the elephant in the room is never a good idea, and if the argument did indeed turn into a mighty elephant, its acknowledgment is key to moving past it.
When disagreements turn heated, both parties are susceptible to acting in ways they aren’t proud of themselves for. A clear sign that you’ve let go of the desire to win such an argument is by acknowledging the regretful actions you took and words you said.
In the mind of the person listening to you acknowledge your regrets, they may think they’ve “won” some sort of psychological battle. As you present yourself to be regretful, you’d also present yourself to be vulnerable and apologetic. Don’t harp on it too much, and don’t make it a big todo. Simply use this opportunity to acknowledge the elephant in the room without poking it with a stick.
If the individual you argued with hasn’t allowed themselves to get over the argument, they may derive some sort of victory from your actions.
Whether they derive victory is not of importance after you’ve already gotten over the argument in question. Remember your goals in the matter; which are not to allow the disagreement wedge your relationship apart.
Voicing your regrets (raising your voice, being too heated, etc.) does well to acknowledge the elephant in the room along with expediting the recovery back to normal social interactions and relationships.
Give No Indication of Disagreement Affecting Your Future Interpretation of This Individual’s Ideas
Though we can get over disagreements, the scars they leave can often linger.
You can lose trust in a colleague, for instance, and become more questioning of their motivations and input in future discussions.
Be cognizant of when a prior disagreement has changed the way you interact with specific individuals. Always err on the side of considering arguments and disagreements to be independent events which don’t carry enough power to alter future discourse.
Though they may in fact not be wholly independent events, it seems healthier to at least try your best in stripping them of their power to influence past the context which they govern.
The scars arguments leave are often easier to open up with each iteration.
Past arguments entice you to be more sensitive, reactionary, and often serve to pull you back into an argumentative state with less resistance than the first time.
Try your best to not change in your interpretation of another’s ideas, even if you’ve undergone a heated argument with them in recent times. Consider them with as much seriousness as you would if their points were to come from someone you respect.
Doing so will simply limit the chances of argumentative outbreaks between the two of you. Since your prior heated argument would entice you to be more rigid with an individual, they’re often likelier to say more direct and drastic things to get through to you.
That cycle perpetuates itself into a state in which the two of you can’t seem to sit in a room together without an argument breaking out. Your disassociation of arguments and their effects on other areas of life limit that cycle by not allowing it to snowball.
In the News
You can read our analyses of current events by becoming a Patron.