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Have you ever been in an argument?  Of course you have. 

Have you ever wanted to stop an argument?  Let’s assume yes. 

There’s one question you can ask that can freeze the argument right in its tracks.  Before we go there, let’s first acknowledge that raising your voice at a spouse, child, or coworker can be enticing.  The ego loves to claim how right it is, and when angry emotions are in full force, it’s easy to find the “courage” to speak your mind, often without concern for consequence.

An argument is a debate about a previous situation.  Even arguing about the future comes from a place of fear and judgement based on experience.  You typically argue with someone because you have different perspectives about something that happened in the past; you’re both trying to be heard rather than trying to listen and understand the other’s perspective.

Asking, “What do you want?” stops an argument in its tracks by taking the focus off the past, which can’t be changed, and into the present and future. 

You can negotiate once you both share what you want.  Staying stuck on your different perspectives about the past keeps you going in circles and often leads to regrettable words and actions.

In my next blog post, I’ll share how you can work through these difference perspectives: Part 2:  Working through the differences.