A Better Way to Argue (sitting back to back)

I came across some notes from a Masters Seminar in couples therapy I’d taken about mid-way in my graduate studies. Rather than let them gather dust somewhere, I thought I put them up here on the Blog for future reference.

Back to Back Conversations

The central concept is this: Often when sitting back to back in the heat of an argument, we can hear ourselves and our words far more clearly and objectively.

Most of the time, in the heat of arguing, it’s in our human nature to try to always win an argument, being completely rational or irrational. Same thing happens to most of us on relationship discussions. In one case the woman was Chinese and the man Ecuadorian. The cultural differences were legion. So too, the opportunities for insight.

I came up with the idea of sitting (or standing) back-to-back whenever a discussion heated up and dispute resolution was the goal.

By doing this back-against-back thing, you continue the discussion as if you were still arguing face to face. But … after a couple of minutes, the passion and yes, the irrationality, dissipates and the discussion most likely ends with a happy outcome.

What happens is that the arguing becomes significantly more objective. You no longer have another person in front of you that you’re trying to reason with, apologize to, persuade or convince about something. Instead, you’re more vulnerable because you’re talking to nobody in front of you. Your voice resonates, and you can pretty much listen to your own voice and think, “Well, I do have a point!” or maybe, “Damn, I’m full of shit, this is wrong. I am wrong.”

Back to back. Try it sometime. The crucial conversations of our lives might be better served!

About Dr Joseph Russo

Born and raised in Woodland Hills, California; now residing in Laramie, Wyoming (or "Laradise" as we call it, for good reason), with my wife Cindy, our little schnauzer, Macy Mae, and a cat named Markie. I hold a BBA from Cal State Northridge and an MBA from the University of Nevada at Reno. My first career was in business, for some 25+ years. In 2007, I shifted gears and entered the helping professions as a mental health counselor. I earned an MA in Educational Psychology and a Doctorate (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision. In my spare time I enjoy mentoring young and not-so-young business and non-profit executives as they go about growing their businesses and presence. I also teach part-time at the University of Wyoming, in both the Colleges of Education and Business.
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