"My boyfriend and I continually argue about stupid things"
Hello. Me and my boyfriend have been going out for a year and eight months. The first six months were fine we never fought... (and some days we don't) but the rest of the time we argue about the stupidest things. What could I say to help keep us from fighting?
Hi - things come up in a relationship that need to be worked out. This is natural, good and inevitable, because that is how we grow and change and see what we need to about ourselves. There are ways to work things out that can be done in a clear way, without fighting, blame, or anger. This takes maturity, awareness, and certain very helpful tools which we can learn to use to help us relate in a better way.
The first tool is the ability to really hear what the other person is trying to say - to understand what they are trying to tell you; to understand what they are feeling about something, and to understand what they are needing in that particular situation. To be able to just hear another person without making them wrong, or giving advice, or trying to fix it is a wonderful thing. People just need to know that they are heard and understood. We don't need to fix it for them, and we don't need to take what they are saying personally - whatever they share is just what's going on for them - how they are experiencing something in that moment. It's not about you - it's what they themselves are trying to work through and understand. If we take it personally, as a personal criticism of us, even if they make it sound that way, or even if they think it's about us, we will get defensive, and then the fight is on. Then it's a power trip, and it becomes about who's right and who's wrong. This never works to solve anything.
We need to be able, through clear methods of communicating, to just be able to lovingly hear them and understood what they are saying and feeling. To honor whatever they are going through as their journey - their process. Most people do not really know how to communicate or listen to another in this way, and it is probably the most important thing we can do in life. If you both are fighting, that means that you are involved in a power struggle, not listening to one another, not giving the other person room to just share what they feel about something. And you are taking everything the other says as a personal criticism. There are techniques for learning to listen to the other person. One of the best is called active listening. I suggest that you take a class in active listening, or find out more about it.
An important technique also for communicating without blame is to always come from the "I" place. Such as: "I feel this. This is just how I am feeling right now about such and such." Or "I realize that I am needing ___________." Or "I realize that when I hear you say this, I feel ___________."
Most people make blaming "YOU" statements. "YOU are so !" Or "YOU do this and you do that." Or "You make me feel ______." When you come from "you" statements instead of simply speaking about how you yourself are feeling about something, that immediately puts out blame on the other person, makes them wrong, and then you are enemies, defensive, and on opposite sides. Making "I" statements doesn't make anyone wrong. It just shares what's going on for you.
No one can make us angry, sad, fearful, etc. To say "YOU made me so angry" is to say that they have the power to cause you to feel a certain way. No one ever can make us feel a certain way. We ourselves CHOOSE to feel something( feelings come from INSIDE of us - they can't be put on us from someone else) depending upon how we perceive, or interpret, what is going on. If you say, "I realize that I am feeling insecure right now, so I am hearing what you just said as a criticism. I need a reality check. Did you mean it as a criticism?" that is totally different from saying "YOU are so insensitive and YOU just hurt my feelings, etc." Do you see the difference? The other person may not have meant something as a criticism, but depending upon how you are feeling and what issues you have going on inside of you, you will hear it in a certain way.
Read the Laws of the Universe found on this site. It will help you to understand this. We always have to be able to tune into ourselves and what's going on for us, to look inside of ourselves to see what is going on for us, because what is going on inside of us will determine how we hear or take what another person says or does.
Therefore, the second crucial tool for having healthy relationships is being able and willing to see yourself - to be able to be honest with yourself and to see what issues or feelings or fears you have inside of you that have you see or hear things in a certain way. It's never about what the other person said or did. It's about what we have going on inside of us that has us see things a certain way.
There is a lot of information out about relationships, about listening, and about not taking what others say personally - The book The Four Agreements is a good one to read as it talks about not taking things personally. It is very important to understand how not to take things personally. I invite you to read it. There is also a great book out called Loving Communications that you can order. If you are interested, I can give you the e-mail address to order it. Otherwise, there are many other books out about how to have healthy relationships. Reading some if these would be a good idea also.
This is actually a very big question you have asked - it's all about how do we relate to another in a way that works. I have very strong feelings that that's what schools really ought to be teaching. We all will always be involved in relating, all of our lives. Yet, no one teaches us how to do it so it works!
Anyway, this is a place to start, with the information offered you here.