Life Coaching, Observations, Reflections, Things that make you go hmmmmm

Argument Responses

Argument Responses To “Gottman’s Repair Checklist”

The first thing I want to touch on for those reading this is that a fight and an argument are not the same thing. Fighting for our purposes here is verbal and not physical.

Fights and arguments have different purposes. Argument can lead in to a fight if those in the argument escalate the matter. It takes two and both sides have to be willing for a fight to take place. If you walk away there will be no fight. You just have to have the courage to not engage the taunting.

I argue a couple of times a week. I make my arguments on a point. The person I’m in conversation with makes their argument on a point. We listen to each other and form our own conclusions. All of that without screaming, yelling and name calling.

I was poking around at Linked in and saw an image posted of the Gottman Repair Checklist. This is what the individual that made the post said with the image, “Word to say to help mend and improve your relationships #lovemaps #relationshiphelp”.

That short sentence and the chart was the extent of the posting. I found the posting to be insufficient and drew my own conclusion as to the purpose of posting the chart with no other information. Yes I get it that someone was trying to drive traffic with the hash tags.

This is what I said as a comment on the posting along with leaving a video link which is at the end of this piece.
“But don’t you love it on those occasions when life so succinctly imitates art?”

I made the comment I did because to my mind the posting as it sat was just ridiculous! You read that list and start thinking of answers and it doesn’t take long to start going smart ass with your response thoughts. Fortunately we don’t have thought crimes. What I saw was thoughtless and should be a crime!

I am thoughtful, considerate and very well spoken. I am also completely sick of the drivel aimed at the completely thoughtless and those using the 3 D’s* to diffuse an argument or a problem. The 3 D’s are “Deny, Defer and Deflect”. I see occurrences of the 3 D’s all over the Gottman list because I was unable to find responses to the statements that are made in the Checklist.

I have made responses to the statements. All of us are going to have some response to the statement being made. It is normal and natural to have and give a response.

Dear readers so you know, I went looking for more references to the Gottman List and ran in to attempts to sell me the list as well as a spin on, “The Four Horseman Of The Apocalypse”. I did see the list should be hung up around the home and office to improve relationships.

Those who have followed me know I have done a fair amount with relationships in a good number of the pieces I’ve written.

After a few attempts to delve deeper without hitting a sales pitch I just said to myself, “screw it” and moved on. I haven’t included the name of individual that made the posting and from what I saw in my searches, and while I do not know for certain, I just might be saving them from infringement issues.

The bottom line is that when you have a problem you have to find a way to communicate and resolve the problem as quickly as possible so feelings don’t fester. No list can do that for you.

As a rule, you have to figure out how to speak with every person in your life you have a relationship with. I will tell you honestly that I talk to everybody the same but different!

I have added one response to each statement made and have tried to stay within what I see the section header portraying.

The “Gottman Repair Checklist follows the video.

Asshole is a unique word

Gottman Repair Checklist

I Feel

1.    I’m getting scared.
Most reasonable people do get scared when they get called on it for what you messed up.

2.    Please say that more gently.
Not possible and still be able to convey just how badly you messed up.

3.    Did I do something wrong?
Ya think?

4.    That hurt my feelings.
You might have wanted to think about the repercussion before you pulled that stunt!

5.    That felt like an insult.
It wasn’t an insult it was a relevant comment on your ability as it pertains to how and what you so badly screwed up.

6.    I’m feeling sad.
Is that feeling because of the ramifications of what you did or because you got called on it?

7.    I feel blamed. Can you rephrase that?
I could rephrase if you weren’t being blamed. Then were you not to blame we wouldn’t be having this conversation at all!

8.    I’m feeling unappreciated.
It would have been appreciated if you’d just left alone what you’re incapable of.

9.    I feel defensive. Can you rephrase that?
See if you can feel responsible and contrite.

10.  Please don’t lecture me.
Well somebody has to and I got stuck with it!

11.  I don’t feel like you understand me right now.
I understand just fine and I got stupid when?

12.  Sounds like it’s all my fault.
Finally, we’re making progress!

13.  I feel criticized. Can you rephrase that?
Halleluiah, the progress continues and no I will not rephrase.

14.  I’m getting worried.
Really? REALLY! You’re just getting worried now?

15.  Please don’t withdraw.
This isn’t over. In the moment it is best that I take a break.



I Need To Calm Down

1.    Can you make things safer for me?

No. I cannot guarantee the relationship is going to continue.

2.    I need things to be calmer right now.
You need to let me express without trying to manipulate or control.

3.    I need your support right now.
Just what do you think I’m doing by being here and having this conversation?

4.    Just listen to me right now and try to understand.
I have been listening to you and now you’ve moved to being emotionally controlling.

5.    Tell me you love me.
You love me.

6.    Can I have a kiss?
No and again with emotionally controlling.

7.    Can I take that back?
No you cannot take it back but it will be forgiven.

8.    Please be gentler with me.
Were I any gentler a feather would knock you over.

9.    Please help me calm down.
That is what I have been doing and thank you for not noticing.

10.  Please be quiet and listen to me.
Are you saying this is not be a discussion but a monologue?

11.  This is important to me. Please listen.
I have been listening but again you refuse to give credence to what I’m saying in reply.

12.  I need to finish what I was saying.
No what you’re saying is you need time to figure out a new spin on what you’ve been saying all along.

13.  I am starting to feel flooded.
Perhaps if you worked on your listening and acceptance skills you wouldn’t feel that way.

14.  Can we take a break?
If you must but I prefer to resolve the matter now and not later.

15.  Can we talk about something else for a while?
No. This matter needs immediate resolution.


1.    My reactions were to extreme. Sorry.
Yes they were and thank you.

2.    I really blew that one.

3.    Let me try again.
I’m undecided.

4.    I want to be gentler to you right now and I don’t know how.
I suggest behaving like a big person and not carrying on loudly or in anger.

5.    Tell me what you hear me saying.
Now that is something I can get behind and thank you!

6.    I can see my part in all this.
And what part do you see for yourself in this?

7.    How can I make things better?
Repair the damage done if possible and pay better attention in the future.

8.    Let’s try that one over again.
You may rephrase if you care to but I see absolutely no reason for a do over.

9.    What you are saying is…..
That is correct here….. close here…. and incorrect here….

10.  Let me start again in a softer way.
Rephrasing is fine but the hard edge never should of been there to begin with.

11.  I’m sorry. Please forgive me.
I don’t know if I can on this one.

Stop Action

1.    I might be wrong here.
There is no might and this is why.

2.    Please let’s stop for a while.
Define a while.

3.    Let’s take a break.
For how long? Because I want this resolved now!

4.    Give me a moment. I’ll be back.
If there isn’t fire, blood or a real need for the commode don’t go anywhere.

5.    I’m feeling flooded.
There has been a lot to absorb care to take 10 minutes away?

6.    Please stop.
Why are you asking to stop?

7.    Let’s agree to disagree here.

8.    Let’s start all over again.
Not possible. It never is possible because things just do not work that way.

9.    Hang in there. Don’t withdraw.
Pausing to form what I care to say next in not withdrawal.

10.  I want to change the topic.
I don’t because letting this fester will only lead to greater hardship.

11.  We are getting off track.
In your opinion and I disagree and this is why.

Get To Yes

1.    You’re starting to convince me.

2.    I agree with part of what you’re saying.
Which part?

3.    Let’s compromise here.
I see no way to compromise on this one.

4.    Let’s find our common ground.
Did you listen to what I said about compromise?

5.    I never thought of things that way.
Had you asked when you were stuck instead of trying to

6.    This problem is not very serious in the big picture.
To the picture in your mind not mine.

7.    I think your point of view makes sense.
Good and thank you

8.    Let’s agree to include both our views in a solution.
I already said compromise on this matter was not possible no stop asking because you’re making me angry.

I Appreciate

1.    I know this isn’t your fault.
I’m not seeing your point.

2.    My part of this problem is…
You acted in a manner that you never should have and do know better.

3.    I see your point.

4.    Thank you for…
You are welcome.

5.    That’s a good point.
Thank you for noticing.

6.    We are both saying…
Do not make statement for me! Now if you want to say I think this is what we are both saying that is okay.

7.    I understand.
Tell me what you understand.

8.    I love you.
I know and I love you and love doesn’t change the issue.

9.    I am thankful for…
I appreciate knowing that.

10.  One thing I admire about you is…
Thank you.

11.  I see what you’re talking about.
Tell me then what I’m talking about.

12.  This is not your problem, it’s OUR problem.
This is a problem for both of us because of what you did.


8 responses to “Argument Responses

  1. Sister Madly August 24, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    “This is not YOUR problem, it’s OUR problem.”

    But it’s not MY problem!

    (They should hang this list up in pubs. Give the rest of the patrons some entertainment.)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sabiscuit October 10, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Brilliant list and amazing commentary. You are very much a keen observer of the human condition. The first “I feel” section looks m like someone in my office I had a quarrel with recently. She just does everything in a very slapdash careless way and expects to get lots and lots of plaudits for doing a good job when it’s very clear she hasn’t. I wish there was a repair list for haughty people who have more pride than brains. I don’t really mind haughty people. I just can’t spare time for people who don’t use their brains.


    • G. R. Hambley October 10, 2015 at 8:22 am

      Thank you for your endorsements. I appreciate it and that “endorsements” might not be the word you would use.

      Thoughtful and provocative responses, even if someone doesn’t agree tells me I’m going about what I do properly and with consideration.

      Hmmmmm a repair list for haughty people sounds like a challenge or a hell of a good discussion!

      Brains or the lack there of, I can if need be and am happy to do it enlighten the “Silent Donkey” as someone has to do it and I’m good at it. Now what was that unique word again? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sabiscuit October 10, 2015 at 8:28 am

        I think the problem is people don’t understand the difference between honest commentary and pure venom. I just find the direct approach quite efficient as it really just helps us get on with our day. None of this running around a bush and really, gameplaying in order to get what we want, just seems a little ridiculous to me. Just very silent donkey. As a further endorsement, may I add that the person who made that list is the sort of person who doesn’t really want someone to disagree with them. That’s why I want to read it again. I’m still giggling by the way, it was too funny.


      • G. R. Hambley October 10, 2015 at 9:37 am

        I agree with your assessment of the list. I’ll add there isn’t much in the way of accountability in the list. My “3 D’s” series, Deny, Defer, Deflect. People start pulling that crap with me and teddy bear goes bear right quick.

        I see emotional control and as pet peeves go, E.C. is very high on the list and maybe number 1.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sabiscuit October 10, 2015 at 9:41 am

        I have the same “shut it down” response for facial expressions designed to ruin my day. How is someone’s frown on their face going to change my weather? As I’m already nearsighted, I pretend I can’t see. I have a temper, too. I prefer not to use it.


      • G. R. Hambley October 10, 2015 at 9:55 am

        I have stock answers that I developed to inflict damage and cause confusion. Always adds a little more sunshine to my day when I can change the fore(head) cast. I don’t like it when people rain on parades. They require enlightenment.

        Liked by 1 person

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