Fighting with your partner is the worst—let’s be real, we just want to get straight to the part where you make up.
But according to a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, rather than try to win every argument with your dazzling debate skills, there’s a better way out for both of you. Just say the phrase, "I see where you're coming from."
To come up with this gem, researchers asked real couples to discuss hot-button issues in a lab setting. Regardless of what they were bickering about (or who won), people who felt that their partner understood their point of view actually felt happier with their relationship overall, the study reported.
Luckily, there are a few specific phrases you can add to your arsenal to reap the bonding benefits. Saying something like, “I can see where you’re coming from,” or, “I get that,” communicates to your partner that even if you don’t agree, you don’t think they’re crazy.
“‘I see where you are coming from,’ is the best phrase to use to resolve an argument because it does two things: It demonstrates you are listening to the other person and it validates their perspective,” says Rebecca Hendrix, LMFT, a couples therapist in New York.
In other words, it neutralises the blame game and lets your partner know you're actually listening to what they're saying (and not just brainstorming witty rebuttals). “Most of the time it is holding on too tight to our perspective of things that keeps us in tension with another,” Hendrix says. “If we are open to another's perspective then it becomes a discussion, not an argument.”
This article originally appeared on Women's Health.