How To!

How To Have a Fight That Actually Helps Your Relationship

“He lived through a war, so I can’t win any argument.”

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Episode Notes

Diane feels like she’s constantly picking fights with her partner Mohammed—when he forgets to grab tomatoes from the grocery store or drops the ball on planning their son’s birthday party. Their conflicts are complicated by layers of cultural differences: Mohammed is a Syrian refugee, Diane is an American, and they live in the Netherlands. “He lived through a war, so I can’t win any argument,” says Diane, who is increasingly desperate to find a solution. On this episode of How To!, we bring on investigative journalist Amanda Ripley, author of High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out. Amanda reveals that conflict can actually be good—as long as anger, and not contempt, is at its core. Drawing from her research on astronauts, gang members and politicians, Amanda coaches Diane through techniques that can help all of us have better fights.

If you liked this episode, check out: “How To Win Arguments Like a Hostage Negotiator.”

Do you have a problem that needs solving? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Subscribe for free on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Podcast production by Derek John, Rachael Allen, and Rosemary Belson.

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About the Show

What if Dear Abby were an investigative reporter? Each week, David Epstein (bestselling author of Range and The Sports Gene) takes on listeners’ toughest problems and, with the help of experts, finds the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask but couldn’t. Until now.

Do you have a problem that needs solving? Have you found the advice on our podcast helpful? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might play it on the air.

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