This is a particularly important issue when we consider the fact that having frequent social interactions with others is one way we can reduce our risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia. People who engage in frequent socializing are more likely to retain their memory as they age. However, who wants to socialize if they feel it will only lead to arguments and friction?
As a result, when a friend emailed me a list of statements we can use to stop an argument, I thought it would be beneficial to pass these suggestions on to others. While these statements may not be 100 percent effective at always preventing a disagreement, any reduction in conflict is worth the effort. With that thought in mind, below is a list you may want to print out and keep handy ... especially when you are about to enter into a situation which could be difficult and stressful for you, including family holiday parties and trips to see difficult relatives.
Concepts to Help You Deal with Difficult People
Before we say anything when someone has upset us, it is important to have the right attitude. As a result, below you will find a few concepts to keep in mind when you are going to be around someone with whom you disagree ... whether it is over religion, politics, money, family or controversial social issues such as gay marriage or abortion. Remembering these points could prevent you from engaging in an emotional, painful disagreement with them.
Ask yourself: How important is it?
Choose to live and let live
Don't force it
Look for progress, not perfection
Remember that this too shall pass
Accept that another person's opinion of you is beyond your control and none of your business
What to Say When You Do Not Agree With Someone
(Making the statements below do not mean you agree with the other person; you are just willing to let them talk and not engage them in an upsetting discussion.)
You might be right.
Boy, I had no idea!
I never thought of it that way.
Thank you for telling me.
If Someone You Care About Makes a Decision You Think is Risky
Tell them: I love you, I believe in you, and I know you will do the right thing for you.
You can also say: I love you and it will be interesting to see how this turns out.
How to Handle Someone Who Keeps Trying to Convince You of Something
Remember: "No" is a complete answer (don't keep explaining your decisions)
Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don't say it mean.
How to Buy Time When You Do Not Want to Commit to Something
It's possible; let me get back to you.
I'll see if I can juggle some things.
I can't do it, but can I give you a rain check?
I'm not sure; can I get back to you?
How to Bring a Difficult Discussion to an End
This is so painful for me, can we talk about something else now?
This is all I can handle right now; can we talk more another time?
My brain is on overload; I need to think about this. Can I call you (or talk more) another time?
More Thoughts on How to Stop Arguments
We all need to accept that we are rarely able change another person's mind and we cannot stop another adult from doing whatever they decide to do, no matter how wrong we think it is. Sometimes, the best way to influence someone else is to maintain the best possible relationship with them. With this thought in mind, it is better to focus less on arguing with them and more on keeping our conversations friendly, caring, positive and agreeable.
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