We have all bottled up many small problems and caused one explosive argument some time in our lives. What we don’t realize is that the person on the other side of that explosion might not even have a chance to understand the real reason we are mad.

Arguments are a completely normal and necessary activity. For them to be effective we need to understand some key components. To help you improve on expressing your problems, here are some tips.

What You’re Doing Wrong in Arguments

Placing blame

People do not like to be attacked. So rather than saying, “You were late and you made me wait”. Say, “I was hoping you were ok. I got worried when you didn’t show up at the specified time”. This feels less like an attack and you still got the chance to bring up what bothered you.


Let the other person finish their point before replying. If you are constantly listening just to respond, the argument will go around in circles. But if you are truly listening to what they have to say, you may gain insight on why it happened. Plus, you will want them to listen when it is your turn.

Picking out small issues

If there is a problem that is affecting your daily life and you want to talk about it, bring it up. The saying, “pick your battles” is not far off. Not everything can be the way you would like it to be. So if it is a small issue that doesn’t happen often or you can live with, let it go. This will make your big issues seem more reasonable.

Bringing up the past

Don’t work through something and then bring it up again every time you have an argument. It will make the other person feel like their changes do not make a difference. Make sure each problem is resolved before you leave an argument. Then you won’t be inclined to bring it up again later.


Raising your voice may make you feel better, but it does not reinforce the point you are trying to make. If anything, it makes the other person shut down and they may not hear your point at all. Use a normal talking voice and avoid name calling. This is the most respectful and effective way to explain your thoughts.

Assuming or evaluating

If someone acts a certain way and you assume the meaning, you may guess wrong. Ask them what they meant by their statement before you react. When they do tell you, think of it from their point of view before taking it personally. Then address the issue after you have taken a minute to think it through.

What Can You Do to Be Better at Arguing

Take your time

There is no reason to just blurt out thoughts. Take a few breaths and think before you say your next statement in an argument.

Only use facts

Only use the exact facts to prove your point and then let them come to the conclusion. You will water down your statement adding in your feelings or your perception of the situation.

Don’t generalize

Saying “you always” or “you never” can be really frustrating to somebody that is being accused. Maybe they have done it once or twice but chances are it is not every single time.

No name calling

There is nothing worse then being compared to someone that is despised by others. Most likely you will regret saying this and the other person will be hurt badly.

Treat others how you want to be treated

This was a lesson from kindergarten and it is still important. Don’t raise your voice at someone and then expect them not to reciprocate.

The key to a good argument is to respect all individuals involved. Practice keeping yourself calm and explaining your thoughts rather than blurting.

If you need help with explaining your thoughts, Allison Holt would love to assist. Visit http://www.allisonholtmd.com/ to make an appointment.