This One Simple Word Works Best To Diffuse An Ugly Argument With Your Significant Other

by 2 years ago


We’ve all been in one of those ugly, emotionally charged fights with our significant others that typically spirals to the point where we’re laying on the couch wondering how the hell she got the bed. We lay there, still fuming, tallying who said the more hurtful thing. We feel validated in telling her we hate her friends because she told us you’re lazy and don’t have any real goals or dreams. In the end, it’s a zero sum game.

But, what if I told you that there’s one word you can use to make her feel super shitty about calling your lazy ass lazy, thus solidifying yourself as the more mature and making her believe that she owes you something? (Hint: BJ).

Hal Runkel, a relationship and family therapist, shared his best advice for de-escalating a conflict that’s spiraled into the danger zone.

His advice is just one word: “Ouch.”

It’s a word that doesn’t get used nearly enough in marriage, Runkel told Business Insider.

“When [you’re] in conflict, inevitably [you] will say something that hurts the other person using the ‘inside information’ that you have on them or that they have on you,” Runkel said.

At that moment, Runkel said, “Everything in you wants to scream something right back at them: ‘Oh yeah? Well, you’re starting to look like your mother!’”

Here’s where the word “ouch” comes in handy. Runkel explained that the best response in this situation is simply, “Ouch. That one hurt. I don’t know if you were meaning to hurt me; I don’t know if that’s what you were going for; but that’s what you did.”

Your partner may get defensive and say something back like, “You’ve said some pretty hurtful things to me!”

Now here’s your line: “You’re right. I have, and I hate that I have.”

“That conversation — which was a very familiar path, that fight — is now a totally different path because one of you chose to actually get vulnerable,” Runkel said.


“It wasn’t a step of pushing [your partner] away. It was a step of inviting [your partner] in by saying: You know what? I am open enough to you that you can actually hurt me. So now how about we talk to each other as if we actually love each other?”

Obviously, this is harder said than done, but your girlfriend is expecting you to say something idiotic. Hit her with an “ouch” and turn her world upside down.

[h/t Business Insider]