In the midst of hardship or conflict in your relationships, it's easy to quickly fall into "fight" or "flight."
You'll yell and scream, passionately swinging for your stake in the ground, or you'll withdraw, refusing to acknowledge or deal with the situation at hand.
In many ways, it's easier to do one or the other...but I counter that neither is terribly productive, and neither really helps to bolster your relationship, or move you toward a better understanding of each other.
Don't fight or flee...ask one more question.
Instead of angrily asserting your opinion, or passionately defending yourself, ask one more question.
"What do you mean when you say...?"
"How were you hoping I'd respond when...?"
"When I act this way, does it make you feel...?"
Ask one more question.
Ask it calmly, with a genuine desire to understand your partner (or your co-worker, sibling or boss) better.
Breathe through and move past your own need to be right, and instead think, "Is my need to be right truly greater than the need for our relationship to be healthy?"
Then ask one more question.
Listen carefully, hearing your partner express to you how he or she sees the situation, his or her unique feelings or point of view about the argument.
You might be surprised by the way your partner sees the world, or how one thing that seems insignificant to you is felt very deeply by someone else.
So ask one more question. You never know where it might lead.