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Healthy Communication for Resolving Conflict

Having an argument can be a normal part of life. Arguments can take place in even the healthiest of relationships simply because people and their opinions can differ.

A common factor shared between arguments that take place within healthy relationships though, is that they each involve healthy communication.

Arguments can be about many things, from borrowing something without asking to telling a lie. Healthy communication is vital to resolving arguments, a form of conflict, because communication helps to ensure that everyone involved feels heard, understood, and respected. While some conflicts can be resolved quickly and easily, there are also many conflicts that take considerable time and consistent effort to resolve.

If you are working through conflict resolution to settle an argument, and you begin to feel your anger stirring or the desire to raise your voice, try to incorporate some healthy communication strategies instead, to better express how you feel.

Verbal communication strategies:

  • Take turns talking
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Don’t jump to conclusions
  • Verbalise and own your feelings
  • Use I-statements
  • Focus on finding a solution to the problem
  • Stay on the present topic
Non-verbal communication strategies:

  • Listen without judgement
  • Stay in control of your feelings
  • Talk face-to-face
  • Control your tone, gestures, and body language
  • Find the right time to talk
  • Talk when you are both calm
  • Know when to take a timeout or a break

Using I-Statements:

I-Statements are a simple and effective way to phrase your side of the conversation or argument.

Unlike you-statements, I-statements allow you to take ownership of your own thoughts, feelings, wants, and experiences.

The formula for crafting I-statements is:

I feel {name the feeling} because {describe the issue without blame}. What I want is {specify your wants/needs}.

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