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A Quick Little Phrase to Stop Bickering in its Tracks

by Tammy Lenski
August 2016

Conflict Zen Blog by Tammy Lenski

Tammy Lenski
Bickering, an argument about trivial matters, is one of those everyday bad habits that feeds the growth of destructive conflict in a relationship. When you teach yourself how to stop getting sucked into bickering, you give yourself and your relationship some fresh air. Here’s a short phrase that can help.

I can bicker with the best of them. Both my husband and I are just obstinate enough to enjoy a good, brief squabble about something embarrassingly petty or trivial.

That’s why I’ve kept mentally close at hand a really helpful little phrase proposed years ago by David of LivSimpl:

Let’s fight about it.”

I can fire up the phrase right as I teeter on the seductive brink of a bickering match and it does a very fine job of bringing the match to a screeching halt.

Said David, “I know it seems odd but I’ve heard people around me say let’s fight about itand it almost immediately diffuses the situation. It puts what you’re ‘talking’ about in perspective. Is it worth fighting about? Most of the time when you stop and think about it, it seems a bit silly.”

The phrase works because it draws attention to the triviality of those little bickering matches and because it’s the flip of what you might expect: Let’s not fight about it. Let’s not fight about it is a tamping-down statement, a plea to let it go or ignore the disagreement. It has its place, no doubt.

Let’s fight about it does something refreshingly different: It helps our better selves step up.

Biography


Dr. Tammy Lenski helps people resolve conflict in ongoing business and personal relationships and bring their "A" game to difficult conversations. Since founding her NH-based conflict resolution firm Myriaccord LLC in 1997, Tammy has worked with individuals and organizations worldwide as a master mediator, executive coach, speaker, and educator. Author of the award-winning book, Making Mediation Your Day Job, she recently received the Association for Conflict Resolution’s prestigious Mary Parker Follett award for innovative and pioneering work in her field. Her second book, The Conflict Pivot, was released in 2014.

 



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