Know the warning signs of a possible fight

When you notice any of the following creeping into your discussion, slow down. You probably need a time-out to gain clarity and composure to continue the conversation.

  • Name calling
  • Attacking ‘you statements’
  • Finger pointing/ blaming
  • Overgeneralizing (‘you always…’, ‘you never…’, ‘every time I…’, ‘nobody around here…’)
  • Afraid of your partner’s intensity
  • Loud voices
  • Red face
  • Clenched fists
  • Breathing fast
  • Tears
  • Feel like screaming or throwing something
  • Feel emotionally closed off
  • Any form of physical threat

Use a non verbal signal. (some examples: – look at watch with a wink, timeout hand signal)

Say it verbally.
–>“I know we need to talk about this, but I’m too [mad] right now. I need time to think.”
–>“We’re beginning to get upset, and I need to take a time-out.” (The words “We’re getting upset” has the advantage of being nonblaming and suggests that the time-out is for the good of both.)

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