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9 Rules of Fair Fighting

No Shot Gunning: Shot Gunning is when you throw several objections, complaints or grievances at the other person, all at once. This simply is too much to respond to and isn’t fair. Pick one thing to talk about.

Cheap Shots: This is when you address a problem or give feedback to another person laced with critiques, personal attacks and button pushing. It’s not fair to mock and deride someone while trying to address a serious issue. It knocks them back on their feet and doesn’t lead to a positive resolution.

Changing the Subject: When you bring up one issue, and then in the middle of the conversation, you change the subject because you don’t want to take responsibility, or you want to throw the other person off. Either way, changing the subject is frustrating and dilutes the focus of the conversation.

Open Personal Attacks: If you are engaging in a conversation strictly for the purpose of inflicting hurt on the other person because you feel hurt, the conversation won’t end well. Maintain respect. Act in the way you wish to be treated.

Bringing Up Past Mistakes: If you bring up an issue, problem, example, or hurt that is from the past, that bears no relevance to the conversation, then don’t bring it up. You are likely bringing up to throw that in the other person’s face. Doing so is unproductive, unnecessarily sours the conversation and bait the other person into “tit for tat” mudslinging.

The Blame Game: Blaming the others person for your feelings is unfair. Or, blaming the other person for a shared problem. Take credit for your part in the problem. When needed, take personal responsibility and ownership. If you can do that, then the conversation is pointless.

Take Turns Talking: If you do not like being interrupted, then do not interrupt the other person. Listen to what the other person has to say, even if you disagree. When they are finished, then you can talk.

Have the Right Intentions: The why behind the conversation determines how the conversation goes. If you enter the conversation simply to win points, inflict as much damage as possible, prove that you are right, or prove that they are wrong, you are in the conversation for the wrong reasons. If you enter the conversation for mutual understanding, even if you don’t fully agree at the end of the conversation, respect will be maintained and that is a success in itself.

Be Charitable: If your conversation partner misspoke, stated something the wrong way, but meant something else, or is unclear, give them the benefit of the doubt that they mean well. Listen to them charitably. Respond to them graciously. Maintain respect, even if you don’t feel respected.

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  1. So it is true that is a good strategy when you have control in a situation. But I feel like that doesn’t address situations that can come up when a person doesn’t have control because they are going through something difficult. I feel like in times like that the person who can have control, should endure through the conversation, so that a resolution of a discussion can be achieved, instead of expecting that the person should be acting like that. Shouldn’t we instead be prepared for a difficult conversation and be able to resolve that conversation with wisdom and self control?

    1. Self-control is a great quality and these rules can help.