Hopefully you've had an opportunity to read the first ten Rules of Engagement in conflict on this blog. They are explained in depth. But here are ten more to round out the list. They are as valuable as the others and are sure to squelch any disagreement that could escalate into a full-on war of words. Try these:
11. Avoid sarcasm. It is condescending and sure to annoy the other party. Just be straight in your answers and leave the judgment out of it.
12. Look the person in the eye. Show interest, not disdain. Eye contact means you're paying attention to what they're saying and actually considering their perspective.
13. Watch your body language. No big threatening gestures or pounding on tables. No slamming doors or throwing items.
14. No interrupting the other person while they’re speaking. We get so caught up in trying to assert our point, that we don't realize we're denying the other person the opportunity to express theirs. In that regard, we're not looking to resolve anything, we're looking to force our opinion as if it is the only one that matters.
15. Stick with the issue at hand. Don’t go back and rehash old arguments. It is so easy to go round and round trying to push an issue, to never let things go, to never yield. Some people can keep disagreements alive for years. Learn to be a peacemaker.
16. Always look for solutions. Don’t just argue without an end in mind. Be a problem solver.
17. Choose your battles carefully. Everything doesn’t require an argument. Learn to be agreeable and compromising. You can’t always have everything your way.
18. Don’t bring other people into your argument—figuratively or physically. And don't let anyone bring you into theirs. Fight your own battles and let other people fight theirs.
19. Listen for ways to avoid making the same mistakes that lead to an argument. Commit to making a change in your own behavior before correcting someone else's. Listen to what other people tell you about certain habits you have that cause issues for those around you.
20. Ask questions rather than make accusations. For ex. “Why did you say that?” and "What do you mean by that?"
And here are three bonus tips:
1. Be willing to apologize.
2. Don’t hold grudges when the disagreement is over
3. Adhere to these rules. They don’t work unless they’re followed by BOTH parties.