Fair Fighting for Friends and Couples

                          * “We have a problem.
                               Let’s try to understand one another.
                               We can work this out.”


• Ask whether this is a good time to talk. Make sure your partner is willing
      to discuss issues.
• Clarify the rules of fair fighting (see below)and the issues to be  discussed. 
• Discuss them one at a time. Stay on track. Don’t in bring old garbage.


Rule 1.   Take turns speaking.  When your partner speaks,  LISTEN!

Rule 2.   When it is your turn to speak,
                First, acknowledge your partner’s emotion(s) and repeat what you
                 heard him or her say.  (I can hear that you are angry.
                                                                  Here’s what I heard you say.)
               Second, state your reality (what you feel , think, and want).
               Third, allow your partner to say what s/he heard and state his or
                her reality.

Rule 3.   Use “I” language. Be direct and honest about what you, feel,  think, and want.

Rule 4.   Attack issues, not the person. Show respect in language, tone 
of voice and attitude.

Rule 5.   Stay in an attitude of trying to understand and problem solve. 
It is pointless to blame.

Rule 6.   *When necessary, use “time-outs”
                    Clarify that you are no longer willing to continue the discussion
                     at this time. Set a later time (in an hour, this afternoon, tomorrow)
                     to resume the discussion.

           *  No amount of talking will lead to problem-solving if you are not
              in a state of mind for solving problems