How to Best Reconcile After an Argument

Reconciling after an argument is largely a byproduct of a combination of techniques and skill development.  After mediating 1000’s of cases with disputing parties, Carol Barkes is certain about the following:

1)  There is no such thing as constructive criticism.  It is just criticism. Instead, try using a complaint that is focused on the problem rather than criticism of what the other person did.  This makes it less personal and puts the two parties on the same side of the table with the conflict on the other side.

2)  Focus on the resolution and the relationship will heal as a natural byproduct.  Many times, I find people trying to remind each other of why their relationship matters.  It is hard for people to care about this when there is a dispute. Instead, find a solution and the relationship will naturally heal.  Many times I’ve seen people call each other terrible names, make awful accusations and be incredibly angry only to see them set up lunch dates or BBQ’s once the problem is behind them.

3)  Don’t live in the past. Do not get stuck in the past and do not expect to convince the other person you are right.  Instead, focus on the future and how it will look beyond the current conflict.

4)  Harness your noggin.  When we are in an argument, the flight, flight or freeze part of our brain takes over making it challenging to logically think and not just react.  Give parties time to reactivate the prefrontal cortex (the genius part of our brain). If we don’t, conflicts take longer and there is more of a chance of long-term damage to the relationship.

5)  Understand how negativity works. Acknowledge that our brains focus on negativity so in a fight it is easy to remember all the things someone did wrong. However, by recognizing this, we can teach ourselves to look for positive memories and avoid throwing the kitchen sink into the conflict.


Available for Interviews: Carol Barkes.

Carol Barkes is a trend-setting mediator, business executive and educator specializing in the use of neuroscience to improve business performance, interpersonal communications, negotiation and conflict resolution processes for optimally successful results.

Jo Allison
Success In Media, Inc.

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