Have you ever had a conversation with a significant other that quickly went downhill? Were you left wondering, what just happened here? In times of increased stress or vulnerability, couples may experience unhealthy communication ending in unresolved conflict with either or both partners hurt or frustrated. If this is a pattern for you and yours, one of the most effective response methods I’ve come across is using the acronym, HALT.
The HALT method is a popular tool in the world of addiction recovery, but when changed just slightly can also be effective in the world of communication and conflict management since everyone is susceptible to letting their emotions influence their decisions. HALT means that at the first sign of an interaction going downhill, you and your partner stop, take a breath and ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I Hungry?
- Am I Angry (or) Anxious?
- Am I Lonely (or) Running Late?
- Am I Tired?
If any other these conditions are present, agree to table the conversation until the need is met. The more aware you are of your own needs and the signs of your partners, your efficacy for bringing up important matters will improve. This is not a foolproof method, but there is less chance of negative outcomes and misunderstandings if you pick a better time to make your approach or address an issue.