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    Posted on Jan 30, 2015

    5 Phrases I Use To Argue Gently

    On arguing, staying friends, and Tetris.

    Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com
    Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

    Stage 1

    Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

    Why I think of this shape: I see two sides exchanging fire.

    What this phrase does: It helps me identify the potential for discord, and in order to do that, it's best to let the other person show his hand first.

    Stage 2

    Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

    Why I think of this shape: I see a stop sign.

    What this phrase does:Now I'm showing my hand - but only just enough to give my friend the choice to continue. This gives my friend an exit if he/she wants it.

    Stage 3

    Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

    Why I think of this shape: I see the enter key, which when pressed, ends a line of text and returns it to side.

    What this phrase does:This keeps the debate on track. I have been in far too many arguments where the basic conflict gets obscured, and it descends into pointlessness.

    Stage 4

    Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

    Why I think of this shape: I see an olive branch.

    What this phrase does: I like to find common ground after both sides have stated their cases clearly. And I think there's almost always new common ground to be discovered if I talk it through.

    Stage 5

    Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

    Why I think of this shape: It makes me think of the end of the arc (it was always a relief to see this shape in Tetris.)

    What this phrase does:I get to affirm the conversation while simultaneously hopefully deescalating the discussion. I don't want to shut down conversation but rather leave something to build on next time.

    Nathan W. Pyle / Via buzzfeed.com

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