Do You Fight Fairly? If not, here are some rules

Monish SubherwalResolving ConflictLeave a Comment

Do you have rules for fighting fairly? If not, you may be causing more problems in your relationship than you think.

Whether its your boss, your parents, or your significant other — we all have needs and wants.

We have to listen to our wants and needs — but not only that, young professionals must live with others and honor their needs and wants from time to time. This allows for healthy living.

When we honor someone else’s needs and wants, we are volunteering and donating something to them.  This could be time, resources, or putting in energy or effort for that person – so their needs are met. And vice versa.

This is because we VALUE the relationship and the other person.

CRAZY Fighting

But what happens when our needs and wants are not met?  Fighting ensues.  I like to think of fighting like negotiating with hostile emotions. It doesn’t work.

The outcome of typical fighting is usually emotional or psychological bruises.

I used to think fighting was bad.  I don’t believe in harming others unless needed – so fighting seemed like a waste of time and a waste of energy.

However, my attitude has changed.

My sister taught me that fighting helps you become clear on what you want and what the other person wants, it helps bring about change, it reveals your issues and the other person issues.

It lets you express what you want and need, it helps you express yourself.  Otherwise, you’ll just be everyones doormat in life.

Thanks sis 🙂

Is All Fighting Good?

So is fighting all good?  Well, not exactly.

The problem is when fighting is not done fairly. When you put the other person down or when the other person puts you down it’s  it’s not fun.

When the other person gets defensive or they frustrate you or they say something ridiculous the conversation goes downhill quickly.

FAIR FIGHTING is different.  THAT should be your goal.  Fighting fairly is the opposite of CRAZY emotional fighting.

Fighting fairly looks like dialogue, it looks like conversation.  Yes, it can be heated, but it always comes back to sharing your wants and needs and having them understood and respected – and possibly forming an agreement or at least coming to a new learning about each other.

It can definitely deepen the relationship.

Distracted Fighting

However, a lot of fighting is off base.  It’s as if people are masters of criticizing others and putting others down.  This derails conversations.  It’s important to FOCUS and know what you want.

The biggest problem in relationships is that the original intention  is lost in the messiness of the fight.  When the situation doesn’t feel that safe we call this situation when “safety is at risk”.

You can get in a fight and pause, and ask “What is the purpose of this conversation” and stump the other person.  I’ve done it, and when that happens, you know you’re off track.

Getting Back on Track

In order to not get distracted and get TOO emotional – have rules for fighting fairly.  This makes life easier. Setting up rules, allows you to understand what bothers you and what really bothers the other person.

Not only that – it also is helpful to know what to do next time when that person is upset. Some people when they are upset just want an apology – where others want a hug.

Each person is different – so know what works for other person.

It is also important to set boundaries when someone crosses the line.  What is crossing the line?  Well, its different for each person!  For some people its when the other person starts crying, or when someone starts cursing, or when someone starts shouting.  You can define the line!  

The next section goes over all the above in detail so you have a structure for fighting fairly.

Rules for Fighting

The following are some ways to setup rules for fighting fairly (they are also available in PDF Worksheet format for easy printing).  Go over them with your partner, spouse, whoever you want.

What Upsets Me




What Will Make Me Feel Better (ex:  an apology)




What Calms Me Down




How I Typically Respond Under Stress (Violence, Silence, or mix – See this article for details on figuring out your style under stress)




How You Typically Respond Under Stress (Violence, Silence, or mix – See this article for details on figuring out your style under stress)




If the following thing happens, feel free to respond according to the boundary setting rule on the right:

When the following happens  =>  Set the following boundary (ex:  step out, take 10 minute break)

1. ___________________   B1. ___________________

2. ___________________   B2. ___________________

3. ___________________   B3. ___________________

4. ___________________   B4. ___________________

5. ___________________   B5. ___________________

6. ___________________   B6. ___________________

Download the above in PDF Worksheet format here.

Was this helpful?

Did you find this article helpful?  What do you think of the rules for fighting fairly?   Leave a comment below!  I always love to hear from you.

Live Life Powerfully,



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