An argument typically starts off as a mild conflict, which can then lead to a disagreement causing discord. If the issue is not addressed or resolved, the disagreement can easily escalate into a full-blown argument. Sometimes arguments last minutes, but other times can go on for days. Then there are those times a dispute can last far longer.
While some people do thrive on engaging in conflict, it is more likely most people prefer to avoid prolonged arguments with their friends or loved ones.
Did you ever find yourself in the midst of arguing with a friend or family member that you just want to end but it seems to go on and on? If so, you may wonder how to stop these kinds of arguments before they spiral out of control, and perhaps even turn really ugly.
Fortunately, there are several ways to end a prolonged argument that may work to end the bickering. By using the following techniques you can work to defuse the situation and, hopefully, find a way to end the argument.
Remain Cool and Collected
It is seldom a good idea to meet an argument with antagonism because this adds your own aggression to the dispute, and this will only escalate the problem. It is OK to state your position if you still want to get your point across, but try hard to keep it cool and collected in the process. It is more difficult to argue with a person who is being rational; it is when a disagreement becomes unreasonable an argument tends to becomes more heated and, subsequently, spirals out of control.
If you truly want to stop the argument, don't be aggressive, instead try taking a proactive approach, and above all, remain calm and actually try to listen to the other person. 1
This doesn't mean you have to agree, but listening can go a long way in an attempt to resolve a situation.
Take a Time Out
Sometimes taking a deep breath and saying "time out" does wonders. In a heated argument it is common to be overtaken by emotions. When emotions enter the disagreement, the argument can quickly take a new route, usually a bad one, and escalate even further.
Instead of pushing things to a point where there may be no turning back, try taking a brief walk, or at least leave the room for a few minutes; this can quickly calm a situation. Explain to the other person you're taking a time out for a few moments and that after the break, you'll return to continue the discussion. Chances are the short breather will have reduced any hostility or anxiety which may have arisen during the argument.
Acting on impulse and pure emotion can potentially cause injury in a relationship.
Be Assertive and Stick to the Facts
Depending on how strongly you feel about the situation, if you take an assertive stance you will get your point across, but eliminate the aggression. Do not let yourself be provoked into argumentative responses. If you calmly remain true to the facts and not allow yourself to be goaded into a confrontational state, this will help towards finding a solution or compromise.
In a situation where emotions take over, chances are the argument will not only continue, but get sidetracked into words later on you'll wish you could take back. Additionally, the person you are in conflict with will likely respond emotionally too and this can make the original issue even worse. By sticking to facts, there is less of a chance hurt feelings will linger on when it does finally conclude.
Calmly Discuss Options
If you sometimes take a step back and approach the situation with a peaceful, but blunt, approach this may end the argument. Ask the person you've been arguing with how he or she would like to resolve the situation. Explain to the person you aren't interested in continuing the argument and see if he or she feels the same way. Chances are he or she does. Occasionally, all it takes is a simple discussion or question; both of you may discover neither of you are interested in fighting over the issue at hand. If that is the case, often a quick resolution is right around the corner once this is realized.
This is the easiest solution, but it doesn't necessarily solve the problem. If you feel things have gotten out of hand and you simply can't stand it anymore, take a deep breath and walk away. You can either continue the argument another day or, depending on the type of relationship, just drop it and leave it unresolved (resolving conflict in a marriage or committed relationship is different than resolving it with someone else).
Sweeping disagreements under the proverbial rug are probably not the best solution, but it will get you out of your immediate situation. This may be beneficial in a situation which has escalated beyond the conflict and become hostile.
Depending on the issue at hand, sometimes it is best to simply walk away.
Don't Involve Others
Venting is important and a good emotional outlet, but if you decide to involve someone else and invite him or her into the problem, it may contribute creating even a worse situation. If you really must discuss the problem with someone else to get another perspective, it is best to try to choose a neutral person who is not involved with the other person or the argument. You want to avoid talking to someone who is closely involved with either person.
While a healthy debate can be fun, arguments are different. Arguing with family or friends is typically not an anticipated event and one most people like to avoid (although pushing serious issues under the proverbial rug may create its own set of problems).
If you are interested in effectively ending the argument, you can use the above tactics; hopefully you can stop the argument before it gets too heated and you'll come to a resolution of the problem instead.