Adifference of opinion can, very often, end in confrontation. It is, however, possible to argue without letting emotions get in the way. “Anger is a knee-jerk reaction when someone feels that they or their opinion are being put down," says Sayantani Mukherjee, consultant psychiatrist, Columbia Asia and Sahyadri hospitals, Pune. The right mindset, she says, can help you put across your views without ruffling feathers.

Limit it to the present situation

“This is especially relevant if it’s a heated argument," says Dr Mukherjee. By dragging in other issues, you will make the discussion personal and lose focus on what you need to achieve. “Also, watch your tone and voice, raising your volume will not make the other person understand you better." 

Use ‘I’ instead of ‘you’

Talk about what you think and feel instead of talking about the other person’s actions. Don’t point fingers at anyone. “By using ‘I’ sentences, you take responsibility for what you’re saying," says Dr Mukherjee. 

Understand and empathize

“Usually, in an argument, we think we’re always right, but you benefit by understanding where the other person is coming from," she says. Sometimes, their point of view may benefit your cause, but you’ll only find out if you’re open to it. 

Count backwards

“A lot of us tend to use hurtful words, which makes an argument very bitter." Dr Mukherjee says that if you have a tendency to shoot off your mouth, count backwards from 20 to one. This will help you stop and think about what you want to say.

Create distance

“In your mind, you have to disengage from emotions and only stick to rationality," she says, adding that it should never become a clash of egos. “As long as you keep the reasons clear, you can come to a solution, because winning an argument doesn’t resolve the problem." If the other person is still beyond logic, then it’s better to leave it at that. “It’s better to restart the conversation later from neutral ground," says Dr Mukherjee.