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Fair Fighting Guidelines

  1. In a fair fight, there is no winner and no loser.
  1. The aim of a fair fight is a solution.
  1. Be specific when you bring up a complaint.
  1. Confine yourself to one issue at a time.  Otherwise, you may skip back and forth, evading the hard ones.
  1. Do not allow counter demands to enter the picture until the original demands are clearly understood, and there have been clear-cut responses to them.
  1. Always consider compromise.
  1. Another person’s viewpoint is just as real to them as yours is to you, even though you may differ.
  1. Never believe that you know what another person is thinking until you ask him/her in plain language.
  1. Do not assume or predict how another person will react, what he/she will accept or reject.
  1. No sarcasm.
  1. Never put labels on a person while fighting.  i.e. calling a person a coward or a child.  If you really believed he/she was so hopelessly flawed, you probably would not be with him/her.
  1. Ask for and give feedback of the major points, to make sure you are heard and to assure your partner that you understand what he/she wants.
  1. Do not use past events as weapons.  Stay with the here and now.  Ask for change that can begin now.  Hurts, grievances and irritations should be addressed at the earliest moment.
  1. Think!  Take time to check your real thoughts and feelings before you speak.  Don’t be afraid to close your eyes and think.
  1. Remember that there is never a single winner in a fair fight.  Both either win a better relationship, or both lose it.
  1. No name-calling.
  1. No physical violence.
  1. No hitting below the psychological belt. i.e. “You sound just like your mother.”
  1. Ask for time-outs.  If there is a stalemate or emotions are getting too strong, ask for a time-out.  But every time-out, must have a time-in – an arranged time when the discussion resumes.  Some people need a little time to gather their thoughts.  Time-outs can be 10 minutes, 30 minutes or till the next day.