Rules for Fighting Fair

Most Important Point


Fighting fare is never abusive

Next month


This is the March issue of Powerful Living, the newsletter that delivers strategies and self-help tips from

I’m thrilled to report that I’ve received lots of feedback on last month's issue and many of you have been testing the tips and strategies on relationship building. If you’d like to contribute additional information on your experiences, I welcome the feedback so keep staying in touch.

No matter how well you get along with people, conflicts happen. This is how normal interaction works. We don’t always see ‘eye-to-eye’. In fact, couples who tell you that they ‘never argue’ are not to be envied, believe me. What’s been happening is that one person has simply shut down. They don’t want to argue and the issue gets suppressed, but it doesn’t go away. It can resurface in anger at an inappropriate time or misdirected to an innocent person. Anger can also be channeled into aggressive behavior (ex. driving) physical problems, and addictive behavior.

In healthy communication, everyone is entitled to have a voice - even if they disagree.

This month’s topic in Powerful Living is about conflict resolution methods, commonly known as ‘fighting fair. You should always be able to argue a point and disagree. In fact, you should be capable of saying just about anything, to just about anyone, but to do this you must be assertive – not aggressive or demeaning.

Rules for Fighting Fair

A) Make time for discussion.

Find a time when you’re both relaxed and not under pressure.

B) Don’t attack. When you say “I have to talk to you about something”, the natural response of the other person is to become defensive. “What did I do?” “What’s wrong now?” Talk about your feelings and concerns, then discuss them objectively.

C) Stay in the moment.

Don’t drag in past issues. Deal with 1 problem at a time and when it’s resolved another can be discussed.

D) Don’t get emotional.

Don’t threaten, insult or intimidate. If the argument becomes heated, take a break and then return to the topic.

E) Don’t interrupt.

This shows that you’re not listening. Wait until there is a break in the conversation before you speak.

F) Show Respect

Never walk out, slam doors or give someone the silent treatment. Don’t be condescending, patronizing or judgmental.

These rules for fighting fair can be used in any situation, with kids, partners, colleagues, just about anyone…….


1) Stay on target

Don’t throw in all your grievances to make your point.

2) Time out

If tempers become heated take time out and cool down. Nothing productive will be accomplished in a heated argument.

3) Be understanding.

Even if you disagree, try to see the other’s point of view. Don’t be stubborn, come to a joint understanding.

4) Don’t jump to conclusions

You can’t read someone’s mind so ask what was meant.

5) Work as a team

The goal is not who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about finding solutions. Discuss what you’re willing to do to solve the issue and come to a joint resolution.

6) Keep your conflicts private

Don’t involve family members, friends, etc into the argument. They will only take sides and add fuel to the fire.

Most important point to remember

Words can hurt

Hurtful things can be said in anger. You can apologize, but once you said it, it’s l remembered and you can’t take it back.

Unresolved conflict can shatter a relationship, and you may think it’s irreparable, If this is the case, seek help from a neutral person, like a therapist or pastor.

Friends and family members are not objective, so don’t get them involved.



Dear Bev,

My dad divorced my mom when I was 3 and I had no contact with him until he resurfaced 10 years later. We seldom spoke but I’d hear from him Christmas time and he’d send a card on my birthday.

I am now in college and for some reason, he’s e-mailing me and trying to establish a relationship. He has a new family and I hardly know them. How do you form a relationship with someone when you don’t share any common ground?



Hi Mitch,

Although your Dad played no part in your childhood, you do have common ground. He’s your biological father. For that reason alone it’s worth developing a relationship with him and his family. This may never be a particularly close relationship, but it can certainly be more than a Christmas card exchange.

He took the lead so communicate by e-mail, but it’s always better to meet for coffee or dinner and talk in person. Over the years, he’s lost your trust, so it’s best to take it slowly. Many years have gone by for both of you.

Refer to last months points and tips on relationships in last month’s Zine. Remember not to jump to conclusions or make judgments. Be respectful and polite. This must be as difficult for him as it is for you, but you owe it to yourself to give your dad a chance.


Fighting fair is never abusive.

you can share it on the Zine

Next Month

Next month’s topic: Self Esteem. Are you confident, just being you?

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