Rules of Engagement: When emotions run high, avoid fueling the fight with generalizations ("You're never there for me") or long-buried slights ("You barely talked to me at last year's party"). Recasting the point you want to make as a "feeling" statement ("I felt undervalued when you forgot my birthday") will help your opponent not get defensive. But if you sense that you're getting too heated, suggest tabling the conversation until you've had a chance to cool down.
This exercise was created by Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7-Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life (Jossey-Bass).
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