5 Steps For Repairing a Relationship
I think we can all agree this is a stressful time. Many of us have holiday parties to attend, travel to arrange, and gifts to purchase. Students may have standardized tests or finals looming in their future. Often, things feel quite intense at this time of year. And that's when arguments happen. Maybe it’s a disagreement about what chores need to be done. Or perhaps a heated discussion about missing homework.
Since many of us are already feeling stressed out, when things like chores or homework come up, we can sometimes blow things out of proportion. This can lead to ruptures in our relationships. One of the things I liked the most about Dr. Dan Siegel's book Brainstorm is his piece on how to repair these ruptures. I've adapted what he wrote on ruptures into some short steps you can take to reconnect with people after an argument.
Repairing a Rupture
1. When the time is right, check in with the other person to see if it is a good time to talk about what happened.
2. If they are open to a conversation, let them know you’d like to have a dialogue. Let them know you are open to hearing what they have to say — and then really listen to them.
3. It can be challenging, but try to let go of the need to be right and make the other person wrong. Do the best you can to hear the other person’s perspective.
4. After the other person has shared, say what you need to say without judgment and talk about your own experience using “I” language. For example, you could start a sentence with “I felt that…” rather than saying, “You made me feel….”
5. Continue sharing back and forth until both parties feel they had said what they need to say.
After having this conversation, you may not have reached a solution. But you will have taken a step back toward relationship. And you will have shown that you care enough about the other person to hear their point of view, and that will go a long way toward repair. Approaching the aftermath of an argument in this manner is not always easy, but it is certainly worth the risk.