Even if you and your partner are great at communicating, you’re bound to lose your tempers sometimes. It happens to the best of us and when it does mediation expert Alexandra Carter suggests a two-word phrase that can defuse an argument and help you come to an agreement. Her two magic words? “Tell me.”
Seems simple, but Carter says the phrase is “the ultimate open question” that can be used in relationships, with kids, at work, or in pretty much any time you’re trying to end a disagreement. And it’s basically all about changing perspective. Carter explains saying “tell me” helps us move from a black-and-white view of a situation to a “learning conversation” where we get unstuck and understand more about an issue.
But the phrase works in other situations, too. Instead of asking your partner “how was your day?” you can say “tell me about your day” and it may change their response. Rather than replying “fine” or “good,” the “tell me” part encourages them to share more about what happened today. Carter says, “No question unlocks trust, creativity, understanding and mind-blowing solutions like ‘tell me,’” and she’s the expert.