A Quick Little Phrase to Stop Bickering in its Tracks

Conflict Zen Blog by 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.

                        author

Tammy Lenski

Dr. Tammy Lenski helps individuals, pairs, teams, and audiences navigate disagreement better, address friction, and build alignment. Her current work centers on creating the conditions for robust collaboration and sound decisions while fostering resilient personal and professional relationships. Her conflict resolution podcast and blog, Disagree Better, are available at https://tammylenski.com/archives/… MORE >

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