How am I supposed to avoid arguing with fools?

How to resolve disputes with de-escalation

There is a saying that arguments happen in the best families. The same applies to friends, partners and colleagues. So the trick is not to avoid the argument, but to get it under control in good time. Nine tips for de-escalation.

My friend Tina is sitting in front of me and crying. She can't believe what happened. Last night she gave her boyfriend a slap in the face - out of anger! A blow that was aimed in the face, but can be felt deep into the hearts of both partners. Nothing bad happened physically, but the consequences for the relationship are hard to imagine. "If you had told me a year ago that I hit someone once - and then Paul too - I would have laughed at you," says Tina.

How could it possibly come this far? When feelings overflow and take over the helm. When it seems too late for a peaceful solution - and a dispute simply escalates.

Whether fistfights or extremely hurtful words: Nobody wants to let it get this far in an argument. And that's exactly why prevention is so important. De-escalation is certainly not always easy, but luckily it can be learned with a few simple tricks.

De-escalation - 9 tips for healthy conflict management:

De-escalation through distance

1 In the intoxication of feelings, the mind has no chance. If you want to keep your nerve, you need time and space. The best way to de-escalate is to get out of the situation immediately. Get out of the room and adjourn the conversation; only then can the anger boil down.

Don't give weight to words

2 Do not allow yourself to be provoked by incessant hostility, accusations and insults. If you want to de-escalate, you don't literally take formulations that were verbalized in a dispute. These are now anyway not productive, but merely provocative.

Somewhat different, of course, applies to the content and emotions behind it; but they should better be discussed only when calm has returned.

Relax physically

3 If you have an argument, you get into combat mode - physically too. Relaxation helps de-escalate. Try to loosen up; Shake out your arms and legs, hop on the spot for a moment, and breathe out deeply. When the muscle tension subsides, one automatically feels more relaxed, radiates this relaxation and unconsciously causes the other person to come down.

Even more relaxation tips:


4 In the heat of the moment, you probably don't feel like laughing at all. Do it anyway. Smiling is the simplest form of de-escalation. Pull the corner of your mouth up and say in a friendly rather than passive-aggressive tone: «Stop! We're not getting any further like this. Do we want to look for another form of conflict resolution? " Even if this friendliness is forced at first, it has a soothing effect.

Show willingness to understand

5 «I want to understand you. At the moment I just can't because of all the anger and emotions. " This phrase works wonders when it comes to taking the wind out of the sails.

Image: CSA-Printstock / iStock

Move instead of excitement

6 Try to tame your emotional chaos through movement. Take a jog around the block, kick a punching bag, or jump rope for a few minutes. That sounds banal, but it is effective.

Find the right sport for you:

Silence is golden

7 In an argument, words come up quickly that you later regret. In addition, verbal attacks only fuel an argument unnecessarily. Silence can therefore be a good means of de-escalation.

But be careful: pausing for a moment at the right moment does not mean swallowing your opinion. It just means postponing the conversation for a moment and a mood that offers more productive conditions than an impending dispute.

Express wishes

8 Nobody wants to argue. Actually, everyone is looking for a way to find unity and peace. Nevertheless, one sometimes gets lost in the chaos of emotions in the completely wrong direction. De-escalation is an attempt to change direction. And the same can often be triggered by supposedly banal sentences:

  • "I wish for peace"
  • "I like you so much"
  • "I love you"
  • "I do not want to argue"

Don't misunderstand de-escalation

9 De-escalation does not mean conflict resolution. De-escalation strategies only aim to bring calm to the situation for a moment and thus give a subsequent attempt at a solution a chance in the first place. This does not replace a clarifying conversation, but should definitely follow in a quiet moment.

Cover picture: CSA-Printstock / iStock

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