real life

The one word that will end a fight with your partner.

Let’s be real: We all fight.

Yes, despite appearances, even the picture-perfect couples who grin at each other over their acai bowls at Sunday brunch have a blue here and there. It’s a fact.

But what’s not so clear is how to diffuse the inevitable arguments we have with our significant others.

How do we put a stop to the madness without – you know – suffering verbal diarrhoea and destroying the next two days and potentially the entire relationship?

An expert has weighed in, and his response is admittedly genius.

Hal Runkel, who has written a truck-load of helpful books about relationships and love, told Business Insider: “No one can touch you like the one you expose yourself most to, but no one can hurt you like the one you expose yourself the most to.”

And the solution when this happens? It’s freakishly simple.

A single word: “Ouch.”

Despite every cell in your body wanting to hurt your partner back after they’ve flung a personal insult in your direction, the best response isn’t to engage in a war of words, but to display your own vulnerability.

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An ideal response according to Runkel is: “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.”

From there, your fight can simmer down to a much healthier discussion.

“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?”


We never thought of it like that.

What are your tips for diffusing a fight with a loved one?