Fair Fighting

Admit when you are wrong
Use “I” statements
Speak one at a time and allow equal time
Allow for time-outs
Look for compromises
Try not to generalize
No hitting or threats
Pick a good time
Speak softly
Make your understandings clear by repeating them and writing them down
Give your reasons
Be honest with yourself and your partner
Bring up one thing at a time
Deal with partner’s behavior—not personality
Call a foul when guideline has been broken
Hold hands
Listen and hear

Unfair Fighting

Name calling
Opening up old wounds/dredging up the past
Mind reading—telling partner what he/she is thinking
Gloating over a victory
Hitting below the belt with known areas of sensitivity
Changing the rules and not saying so
Expecting there to be a winner and a loser
Silent treatment
Bringing up issue at time embarrassing to partner
Generalizing—“You never” or “I always”
Intimidation/threats of violence
Saving up gripes to dump all at once
Exaggerating--overreacting and ultimatums like threatening to leave
Interrupting
Teasing