The One Thing to Say to Defuse Any Argument
You’re mid-argument with your spouse/sister/mother-in-law and your blood is boiling, because you can’t believe the words that just came out of his/her mouth. But hold back: You can actually resolve things—minus a blowout—with this genius approach.
What you do: The next time someone (let’s say, your spouse) lodges a complaint, try taking a beat and repeating the criticism back to them with the words “I hear you when you say [insert complaint here]” before launching into your rebuttal. Some examples: “I hear you when you say my mother drives you crazy.” Or, “I hear you when you say I always leave my underwear on the floor.” Basically, take the words right out of their mouth.
Why this works: Most arguments stem from the fact that the person with the complaint feels like they’re not being heard. By repeating their words back to them out loud, you’re verifying that you were listening and truly considering what’s making them mad.
Now watch as the tension dissipates. Cue the civilized discussion versus a screaming match. Problem solved.