In life, it’s inevitable to avoid conflict with the people you love. Whether it’s a significant other, parent, sibling, or friend, unless you’re a person who loves confrontation, it rarely feels good. So, sometimes you try to be wise.

Though the old saying “All’s fair in love in war” has been around for ages, it’s not always true. That’s why it’s important to learn how to fight fair. If you value your relationships and don’t like fighting dirty, then check out these suggestions on what not to do when you encounter conflict.

  1. Don’t Yell or Get Physical

    In heated situations, some people easily lose their tempers. Raising your voice can be intimidating and cause the other person to become defensive, or react with offense. In others, it can cause your loved one to shut down. If that happens, there’s no progress being made in resolving the issue.

    We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how ugly it is to become physically aggressive or violent during a confrontation. Come on, does anyone really need to hit, kick, spit, or pluck to get their point across? Don’t even threaten to do it. It’s never right to hurt someone physically.

  2. Avoid Nit-Picking or Nagging About the Past

    Stay on topic. Yeah, your loved one may have a track record, but it’s not relevant to what you’re working on at the moment. Even if you’ve been letting something fester that you never mentioned before, don’t throw it into a pile of complaints to unload at once.

    Be ready to compromise and move forward instead of rehashing the same old dramas.

  3. Drop Your Quest to Win or Be Right

    Check your ego at the gate and identify the problem with objectivity. Always be willing to own your shortcomings and apologize, because there’s nothing wrong with being wrong and admitting it.

    Avoid goading someone to say sorry or making your apology conditional. This way, you’ll find mutual understanding and common ground.

  4. Don’t Abandon Your Loved One

    When things get heated, it’s okay to take a breather, but don’t go M.I.A. or be quick to sleep in a separate room. Jumping ship in the middle of an exchange can breed feelings of resentment, anxiety, or worse. If you still care for and respect this person, be willing to take a break peacefully.

    Revisiting your discussion at a later time or date is healthy when things have cooled down, and it shows you’re both committed to working things out. But don’t leave during a fight as a way to make a statement that you’re done.

  5. Leave Others Out of It

    Running to your mom, dad, best friend, kids, or the Republic of Social Media to join in on the conflict is a bad idea. For starters, it can make someone feel like they’re being ganged up on. There’s also a clear lack of fairness based on who’s controlling the narrative.

    Be honest, be mature, and communicate directly with your loved one.

  6. Don’t Insult or Be Critical

    There’s no need to hurl insults, name-call, or belittle. Not only is it hurtful, but it’s also unproductive as it takes away from the issue at hand.

    Sarcastic tones are also unnecessary and dismissive. Focus on what the core of the problem is rather than throwing personal gibes.

  7. Don’t Try to Be A Mind Reader

    Assuming you know how the other person thinks or feels can lead to miscommunication, misunderstanding, and hurt feelings. Rather than put words in someone’s mouth or thoughts in someone’s head, listen.

    Don’t cast judgement and be ready to hear and understand the other person’s point of view. You don’t always know how someone will react!

Things can’t always be perfect, but when love and respect reign, you can always find your way back to peaceful waters.

What have you learned about fighting fair with your loved one? Have you noticed any patterns when you have conflict? Are you guilty of anything on this list and want to change?