18 Rules For Effective Fighting

Author: Dr. Robert W. Birch Ph.D. ©

Sexologist & Adult Sexuality Educator

Used With Permission



1. Identify the central issue and stay on it. Deal with just one thing at a time.

2. Don't argue over little details. Do not be distracted by minor points.

3. Do not accuse your partner with "you" statements. Make "I" statements.

4. Don't assign blame. Blame stirs a defensive attitude, so negotiate as equals.

5. Don't every attempt to shame. Guilt trips eventually stir anger and backfire.

6. Don't attack your partner's character or personality.

7. Don't keep score. No one is "always wrong."

8. Don't lecture.

9. Listen carefully to your partner's perspective, and do not interrupt.

10. Don't pass judgement on your partner's perceptions or feelings.

11. Don't clam up when the going gets tough, and don't walk away.

12. Don't take seriously everything said in anger, but listen for what is important.

13. Be very careful with your expression of anger, as great damage can be done.

14. Direct any anger toward what it is that you are really angry about.

15. Identify your hurt and talk of it before allowing your pain to turn to anger.

16. No name calling!

17. Maintain respect and unconditional positive regard.

18. Work for mutual understanding, compromise and forgiveness.

Collected and organized by from a variety of sources by Dr. Birch - 2000

Dr. Birch's Web Site: Oral Caress





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