Whether you’re in a romantic relationship, have a close friend, or have family members you’re bound to have had an argument at some point. Sure, some of us get into more arguments than others but the truth is it’s something we’ll all encounter at some point or another.
Sometimes making up is nothing more than both parties ignoring what happened. Other times, the argument causes both people to completely stop talking. Then there’s that “makeup talk” that the rest of us face. Having that makeup talk can be difficult territory for us since there’s nerves on the line and while both parties want to get past the argument, both still have some unresolved business.
This occurred to my wife and I recently and we utilized 10 tips that helped making up after that argument so much better! While these 10 tips are based on making up after an argument with my wife they are just as valid if you’re making up with your family member or best friend. Listen to the podcast for an in-depth look at these top 10 tips!
1. Check yourself
Are you in a place to talk? Really check in with yourself and make sure you’re in a place where you want to have this conversation. The last thing you want to do is pick the wrong time to have that makeup talk. Here’s the important thing though. If now is not the right time to have that talk, make sure you tell them when exactly when a good time will be. The last thing you want to do is say, “not now” and then just leave it open. That’s passive aggressive and will just make matters worse.
2. Check your surroundings
Are the kids needing your attention? Are there other distractions around you? Look around and make sure your surroundings are conducive to having this important talk. You’re going to want to make sure you can give your full attention and also receive their full attention. So this might mean that you have to move your conversation to a new room in the house or a different setting. Just be aware so you don’t wind up sabotaging this important connection.
I know, you’re obviously breathing but what I’m talking about here is conscious breathing. This will be extra important when you’re listening. Focus on your breath coming in and notice the lower part of your belly expand and then gently collapse as you exhale. Not only will this help you think clearly when you’re feeling emotional but it will also allow you to keep those judgements at bay when the other person is speaking. Focus on your breath!
4. Ask before giving feedback
Ask them if they are in a place to receive some feedback. You’ve listened to them share and you’re probably wanting to give your reaction to what they just shared. Perhaps this is the first time talking since you had that argument/disagreement. In either event, you want to make sure the person is in a place to hear you. If they are not then what’s the point of sharing? They’re just going to put up a wall and shut you down. Remember, this is a makeup talk so you want to be sure you’re moving in the right direction. They’ll also feel respected when you ask if they are in a place to receive some feedback.
5. Use “I” statements
My mentor, Lee Garland, taught me this one and it works so well as challenging as it is to actually put into practice. If this is the first time you’re talking to your partner/family member/friend since that last argument things are likely to be quite sensitive. Using “you” statements typically follows some type of blame and can easily cause the other person to get defensive. This is hard to put into practice but do your best to use “I” statements. For example, “When I hear someone yell I feel scared and angry. If I’m going to be in this relationship it’s only going to work if I know I’m not hearing yelling.” This is just an example but you can see it’s hard for someone to get defensive about a statement like this. You’re not blaming them and really the statement is all about you; about how you feel and what works and doesn’t work for you. Remember, keep this about yourself as much as you can and it will help so much!
6. What they share is about them
Similar to the last tip, this is a great reminder that what they share with you even though it may involve you is really about them. Their thoughts and feelings are their thoughts and feelings so let them own them. If you’re having trouble with this one refer back to #3 and breathe!
7. Show up for yourself
Show up for yourself by asking for what you need! Look, if you’re going to make this work and truly heal and forgive then you’re going to have to make sure you don’t leave the most important person behind…you! Make sure nothing is missing either when you start thinking of what you need. You don’t want to walk away from this conversation where your goal is to makeup only to feel resentment or frustration over not asking for what you need. So really look inside yourself and make sure you don’t leave anything unspoken.
8. Look each other in the eye
One way to make sure that the other person doesn’t think they are being heard is to look elsewhere when they are talking. Make sure they know you are giving them good attention and that you hear them. Look into their eyes when they’re talking and let them know you truly care about where they are and that you are here to listen. Ask the same of them too! If you’re talking and they seem distracted or looking at other things politely ask them to give you attention by looking at you.
9. It’s so much more than this moment
Your relationship is so much more than just this moment. What that means is that you can have an argument and still love someone. Love doesn’t only exist when things are going well. I can love my wife and still feel mad at her. Both coincide at the same time. This is important to understand as you’re going through these difficult moments.
The best way to end that makeup conversation and transition back into your healthy relationship is with a little physical affection. However, before you dive in for that hug make sure you ask if they’d like to have on first. I know this might sound weird with someone you’re used to hugging all the time but you’d be surprised just how nice that other person might react. When you ask someone if they’d care to share a hug it gives them a chance to see if they want to be physically touched right now. It also let’s them know that this is something you’re sharing and not something you’re just forcing on them.
We all get in arguments and disagreements from time to time and certainly with those we love. How we handle that makeup talk is critical to determining if we’re building a healthy relationship or one that’s going in the same or worse direction. I’ve shared 10 tips that I think will make a massive difference in building the relationships you want in your life. But I also know that these aren’t the only 10. So what tips do you have when it comes to making up with that important person?
If you’re reading this post I highly encourage you to listen to the 30-minute podcast for much more!