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What is Fair Fighting?

By J.M. Densing
Updated May 17, 2024
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Fair fighting is a method of conflict resolution where the involved parties attempt to resolve disagreements in a controlled, rational manner. It is a more productive method of solving problems that is healthier for relationships. One of the core principles of fair fighting is to communicate calmly and discuss problems in a non-hurtful way and without raising voices or losing tempers. This can be difficult to accomplish when angry, but it's important to discuss one problem at a time and listen to one another without letting anger get in the way. The goal of a productive, fair fight is to arrive at a solution that all parties can agree on.

In the heat of the moment, many people react with anger; this is not, however, conducive to the resolution of conflict. Research has shown that remaining calm and adhering to fair fighting guidelines can be a much more effective method. Fighting fair also helps to avoid the hurt feelings, bitterness, resentment, and dissatisfaction that can result from conflicts that are inadequately resolved. This technique can be learned, and training is frequently a facet of marital or family therapy.

One of the most vital aspects of fair fighting is the importance of remaining calm. It's crucial to remain calm and in control of emotions in order to think clearly and avoid saying or doing hurtful things that could cause lasting harm to a relationship. Remaining calm also helps each person to listen carefully to the other and respond in a respectful manner. It's also easier for each partner to take each other seriously and consider another point of view if he or she is not perceived as overreacting to the situation. If there's a danger of tempers flaring, it's a good idea to take a break to cool off before continuing the discussion.

There are also several other guidelines to remember when utilizing fair fighting to resolve conflict; for example, each person should get a chance to express his or her feelings and wishes and time to respond to the other. It's also important to avoid turning the disagreement into a personal attack and to instead remain focused on the specific issue or actions that are being discussed. It's best to only attempt to deal with one problem at a time without trying to bring up other issues that may only distract from successfully resolving the conflict. When discussing the issue, be as specific as possible; avoid generalizing with words like "never" or "always," since such sweeping statements aren't usually accurate. Try to work together to reach a resolution that satisfies both parties, and compromise when necessary.

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