Speaking one’s opinion is one of the hardest things to do for many people. Defenses often start to rise when you speak up. It can be tough to speak your mind without arguing, but it’s crucial for any type of relationship to practice a few ways that should calm a brewing storm.
Know The Difference Of An Argument And A Fight
It’s essential to know the difference between an argument vs. a fight.
In a fight, one person usually just wants to win. It’s all about convincing the other person they’re wrong. You don’t want to deal with the issue, but want to get the last word. It’s often all about intending to hurt the other person by presenting your side only.
In an argument, you tend to be fairer. You positively express yourself. You listen to the other person. You try as hard as possible to solve the problem. You try to understand the other person’s perspective. If you only fight, you don’t get to listen to an argument that includes both sides.
13 Tips to Speak Your Opinion With Kindness
1 – Focus On Behavior
It’s so easy when you’re trying to speak your mind to focus on the person’s personality. It’s better to focus on their behavior. If you start throwing around all of their negative tendencies instead of focusing on the action at hand, you have a whole new basket of snakes to handle.
Don’t attack the other person’s perspectives on life or their personality tendencies. If you’re upset, the person is spending too much money, tell them you’re not happy with this exact behavior. Don’t call them lazy and fake. This does nothing but put them on the defense.
2 – Own Up to Your Emotions
Feelings are important, but if you don’t up to them, they mean nothing. Express these feelings in words like “I” rather than “You.” If you state your opinion beginning with wagging your finger, it goes nowhere.
It’s best to let the other person be responsible for their actions while you stay in your lane. You can be accountable for your reactions. You have to own up to your feelings. It’s essential to learn to express these feelings in a positive way instead of pointing fingers.
3 – “I Feel” Statements
Use “I feel” statements instead of flying off the handle with blame. If you start spouting out all of the things that anger you without justification, the other person feels targeted. Explain, “I feel upset that this is happening.”
This communication lets the other person take their guard down because you’re showing vulnerability. Additionally, this helps the other person feel they are not at fault.
When you tell your feelings, the other person is going to open their ears and want to hear more about why you’re hurt. If you just throw daggers at them with all they’ve done wrong, they probably don’t want to listen to it.
4 – Use Concrete Words
The more concrete your words, the better your point gets across without anger. If you use words like “always” or “never,” you’re stating an absolute. These are confusing because you don’t always know the absolute truth.
For example, you can’t make a blanket statement like, “You never listen to me.”
Instead, point out an exact time you felt the person didn’t listen to you. They will be less defensive when you don’t say they always do something or never do something if you’re able to point out an exact time.
5 – Control Your Temper
If you lose your temper when you are trying to speak your opinion, you’ve done nothing. Heated arguments lead to loud words, but not action. People get emotional when they’re angry, but it’s crucial to maintain a calm temper.
Express yourself without losing your cool. State your opinions in a calm way. You might feel your temper flaring, but take it down a notch. Pause and take a timeout if you need to regroup your feelings.
6 – Stick To One Issue
It can be tough to stick to one issue when you’re arguing, but it’s important not to jump around to different topics. If you’re angry about one thing the person is doing, don’t start yelling at them about everything else they do wrong in life. This emotion only puts the person on defense.
Give examples of the one thing on a topic that is upsetting you. You don’t want the other person stuck in a vacuum of all of the things you just told them. Tackle one issue at a time, so no one feels overwhelmed or attacked personally.
7 – Look To Finding a Point of Agreement
The goal of any argument is to get to a conclusion. You need to build an understanding with the other person. You need to learn the way they think. It’s best to find the ideas you agree with in your disagreement. This outcome means there is no real winner.
Look for the things you agree on in the issue, and go from there. If you feel the person is making sense in some areas, start from that area. If you start in the negative space, odds are you will end on a negative note.
8 – Think Of Your Outcome
Remember when you are trying to speak your opinion that you have a goal in mind. Don’t lose sight of this goal. Ask yourself if you just want to be heard, or do you have a specific outcome in mind. You’ll get off track if you just start spouting words.
It’s easier to stick to the issue at hand if you remember your outcome. Remember why you put up this fight. If you just want to be heard with words flowing from your mouth, you’re going to get nowhere with your argument.
9 – Listen Carefully
One of the best things you can do in an argument is to listen to the other person. It’s essential to be quiet and hear what the other person is stating so you can better understand their side. This habit is called active listening. You aren’t just listening to them spout words, you’re hearing what they have to say.
Still, you might not agree with their points. But you’re able to reason when you open your ears and mind. This behavior also creates a positive environment where you can take down all of your defenses and just talk.
10 – Take Turns Speaking
Take turns when you speak your opinion. It’s all about giving and taking in an argument. If you just fight your side, you don’t give the other person a voice. They have the right to express their opinion as much as you. It’s essential to respect the other person on the topic.
Say what you need to say, then let them speak their mind. Don’t interrupt or dominate the conversation. You can agree in areas where you understand their viewpoint, then take the time to give your response. Take a breath after the person speaks so you have a little break to get your thoughts together to speak your opinion.
11 – Show Respect, Get Respect as You Speak Your Opinion
Remember to respect the other person you’re speaking to when you speak your opinion. Even if you don’t like the other person’s actions or beliefs, remain respectful of them. You have to let them talk and sit back to listen. If you want a better response out of them, be reverent in the way you handle them. If you don’t want to argue, you have to let them understand you’re willing to listen to their side. They may not be respectful of your opinion, but take the higher road and listen to theirs.
12 – Ask Yourself: Is It Worth It to Share?
Before you open your mouth to have a discussion, decide if it is worth it. If you need to have a serious talk, go ahead. If you just need to vent and get everyone angry, stop yourself. If you know the conversation is going to go nowhere, stop yourself.
Ask yourself why you want to argue. Ask yourself if you can move in a positive direction. If the argument isn’t worth it, just step away. You cannot always change someone else’s perspective. If you’re only getting into a discussion to create havoc, it isn’t worth the fight.
13 – Understand It Is Normal to Want to Speak Your Opinion
Remember that being able to speak your opinion is reasonable. You need to have discussions about maintaining any healthy relationship. You don’t need to fight, but you need to speak up to keep things in balance. This doesn’t mean anything is “wrong” in your relationship or with the other person. It means you’re trying to keep things on track in the correct way. If you never argue, you never express yourself. Things bottle up, and one day you explode with emotion.
You don’t have to cause a fight when you try to speak your opinion. You can be heard without shouting. All relationships of all types need maintenance. The only way you can thrive as a person, a couple or a business is to have healthy arguments. Practice these tips regularly to keep your relationships healthy.