Don’t you hate that awkward tension after an argument? You know, the one that people don’t really talk about? You’re not even annoyed anymore, but there’s just this awkward silence and you can’t quite seem to snap back into normality.
You wonder whether your partner is still annoyed, or whether they too are hovering in limbo between arguing and normality. Neither partner wants to be the first to move, talk, or make eye contact. And neither partner’s true intentions are clear.
It can be pretty frustrating. The argument is over, so why is it so difficult to move on? In submitting ourselves to this strange state of post-argument awkwardness, we are extending the negativity, when we could be enjoying our relationships in the way that we should be!
8 ways to avoid the awkward tension after an argument
Arguments are bad enough as is, without extending it by a couple of hours of awkward silences. We need to learn to resolve and move on from arguments quickly and efficiently, so that we don’t waste our time needlessly on confusions, egos or frustrations.
Try out these 8 tips that will allow you and your partner to heal and snap back quickly after an argument, so both of you can enjoy each other’s company once again!
#1 Avoid arguing in the first place
I think we can all agree that most arguments we have are just plain silly and a few days later, you often struggle to remember what it was that caused the disagreement in the first place! So is it really worth arguing in the first place?
Don’t allow verbal aggression to be your first instinct when a disagreement arises. It is possible to discuss an issue WITHOUT being aggressive, and quite often, the issue is resolved much quicker because you are in a much more rational state of mind.
Take a deep breath and control your temper. Listen to what the other person has to say without interrupting. Reflect on their opinion and don’t overreact. Even if you are the only one who is handling the situation in this way, your partner is likely to follow your lead soon enough.
#2 Let go and don’t hold a grudge
Often, tension is caused after an argument because we don’t allow ourselves to let the disagreement go. When we sit in silence, we are quite often continuing to justify our own side of the argument in our minds.
Remember that neither arguing nor holding a grudge is worth your time. You can make the decision to choose a positive mindset. Even if something has annoyed or upset you, or if the argument hasn’t been fully resolved, let it go. It is never as important as you think it is at that time.
In the grand scheme of things, your happiness and the health of your relationship are much more important. And they will thrive if you don’t let every negative experience get to you and cling to you. Forget it and move on.
#3 Don’t overanalyze the argument
After an argument, we often feel the need to justify our reactions and examine the root of the argument. Going over the causes of disagreement, and clearing up misunderstandings is helpful to a certain degree. But on the flip side, it won’t allow you to move on and return to normalcy.
What’s more, it runs the risk of reigniting the argument. So, be cautious and keep it to a minimum. Accept that arguments and misunderstandings happen, and if it doesn’t need to be discussed further, then don’t! Banish the awkward silence, and focus on returning to normalcy as quickly as possible, and that should be your main priority.
#4 Make a physical show of affection
Sometimes, we sit in silence after an argument because we’ve simply had enough of using words. Don’t forget the old saying: actions speak louder than words. Show your partner that all is forgotten by displaying a gesture of affection.
Even if one of you are still clenching teeth, introducing intimacy will instantly break the tension and allow both of you to heal after the argument. There is a reason why “make up sex” exists! Intimacy allows you to express your love, and afterwards, everything is forgotten.
#5 Apologize and admit where you were wrong
We all say things that we regret in the heat of the moment, and often, arguments arise because we have completely misunderstood the intensions of the other person’s actions or words. What’s more, it is very unusual that only one person is in the wrong. In fact, an argument is usually a combination of both of your wrongs or misunderstandings!
You have most likely spent the majority of the argument explaining to your partner why they are wrong, it is now important to recognize where YOU were wrong and apologize. It will often initiate the other person to do the same. You may want to save face and avoid damaging your ego, but by stepping up and apologizing, it will provide closure to the argument and will allow both of you to move on.
#6 Break awkward silences with a positive topic of conversation
Don’t let post-argument awkward silences go on longer than they have to. The longer it goes on, the harder it is to break out of it.
The best thing you can do is to take a deep breath and pretend nothing happened. Pick a positive topic of conversation or make small talk. It may seem slightly false and awkward to start with for the first couple of minutes, but anything is better than an awkward silence! You’ll be surprised how quickly your conversation will revert to the norm.
#7 Try a change of environment
It is easy to remain steadfast in the exact same physical position as you were when you were arguing. No one wants to be the first to make a move into continuing with normal life.
Bite the bullet and suggest a change of scenery. Perhaps go for a coffee, or out to dinner. Often, a change of environment, especially to a more social environment like a coffee shop or restaurant, will immediately change the atmosphere between the both of you.
#8 Acknowledge the tension
When there is tension after a fight, it is hard to tell whether the other person is feeling as awkward as you are or whether they are still annoyed. And they are probably wondering the exact same thing!
Let them know that you aren’t annoyed, and most importantly, let your partner know just how much you hate the tension and the silence after a fight. More often than not, they will be relieved that you’re feeling the same way. Once you’ve both acknowledged that the fight is over, you can both make a decision to move on.
The most important thing here is to always remember the consequences of fighting. Remind yourself how raw you usually feel after a fight and the tension that is likely to follow, before the argument gets underway. This is often enough to make you take steps to prevent the argument before both of you get carried away, or at least, it will motivate you to resolve the disagreement quickly and move on without a period of post-argument tension.
Happiness in your relationship should always take priority, so don’t waste your time by dragging an argument on longer than necessary. It is almost never worth it!