When traveling with a partner or a group it is inevitable that an argument or two may arise. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing or debating each other. It is how you each diffuse the heat that matters.
Maynard and I have very different ways in handling stress. In some ways we are exact opposites. For instance, he is eternally late and I am anxiously early. In order to work around this I tend to tell Maynard to be ready 30 -60 minutes prior to the real time needed. When I know this method won’t work, I beg and plead several days leading up to the event for him to be on time. Obviously, neither of these methods work 100% of the time, but what we’ve done is come up with ways to help decrease the chance of a stressful situation.
Just like any other relationship, Maynard and I are a work in progress. Below are our favorite methods to help our relationship and our travels move forward more pleasantly.
Take time for yourself. I am the type of person that needs time to myself. I need to have time to recharge and refocus without distractions. Maynard is the opposite. He could spend 24/7 with me ALL the time. It was a challenge for Maynard to understand this about me, but once he did and didn’t take it personally it has helped to avoid arguments. In fact, we have gotten to the point where Maynard sometimes recognizes before I do when I need me time.
Breathe. Take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Do it more than once, if needed. Calm yourself before engaging in a heated argument.
Fight Fair. Don’t fight dirty or mean. Be realistic and reasonable in your communication. Most importantly, be clear with your feelings. Don’t beat around the bush or expect your partner to guess what it is you need or want. Get to the point and offer solutions to help your partner help fix the situation. By offering ways to fix the issue helps to facilitate a compromise both parties can agree upon.
Hold Hands. Yes, it is as easy as that. If you want to one up that, hold hands while making eye contact and having conversation. Whoa!
Listen. Stop everything you are doing, look at your partner and listen. Don’t interrupt.
Check In. It is all to easy to get caught in the moment and overlook how your partner might be feeling. For example, whenever someone introduces the idea of something as simple as vacation, we all picture what it means to us. The key is to make sure both of you enjoy it equally, so just think of Joey Tribbiani and ask, “How You Doin’?”
Have an open mind. There is a chance the argument you are having can’t be diffused because of some internal prejudice or predication. Some resolutions can only be achieved when you put all of that aside, examine where the other person is coming from and accept the fact that the answer may lay in something you have never considered.
Keep it in perspective. In the heat of the moment it is easy to feel like this is the biggest thing that has ever happened. Ask yourself, is it though? Is this our defining moment? Chances are if you answer yourself honestly, the answer will be No.
Call a Time-Out. Physical tension is all to common when tempers flare and only serve to fuel frustration. Ask for a quick time-out and grab a few deep calming breathes. Once you feel the mercury start to settle you will be in a far better to continue the discussion.
Confirm the resolution. We all know it, miscommunication is pretty much the cause of every argument. Don’t compound the issue by coming to a resolution that you either don’t understand or are unsure of. Don’t be afraid to restate it in your own words and get confirmation.