Copyright 2004 Laurie Weiss, Ph.D.

Do you need to stop arguments? These three steps will turnalmost any argument into a productive discussion in lessthan five minutes.

1. Go to the bathroom. When you are in the throes of anargument or difficult discussion, just say, "I really wantto have this conversation, but first, please excuse me Imust go to the bathroom." Interrupting the argument willgive each of you a chance to cool down and collect yourthoughts.

If you are on the telephone, say "Excuse me for a moment, Ihave to handle a call on the other line." If you are on acell phone, break the connection in the middle of one ofyour own sentences. Call back a few minutes later andapologize for being cut off.

2. Use your break time to think. Decide what you reallywant to accomplish by turning the argument into adiscussion. Get very clear about your own objectives.

3. Return to the conversation, summarize the argument sofar, and then ask politely what the other person wants theoutcome of the conversation to be.

These steps work because they give each of you a chance tothink instead of react to what has been happening. Andneither of you needs to lose face or look weak or actdisrespectfully.

When you approach any conversation with your goal in mind,you are far more likely to achieve it than you are in theheat of an argument. When you ask others their goals, theytoo must think about what they want to accomplish.

When you create a productive discussion, you create mutualrespect and the opportunity for excellent futurerelationships.


Author's Bio: 

Laurie Weiss, Ph.D., author of Dare To Say It!, is aninternationally known executive coach, psychotherapist, andauthor. For more simple secrets for turning difficultconversations into amazing opportunities for cooperation andsuccess, visit or