This is a question I get a lot during sessions, when clients have had a conflict, right in front of me.

My answer is: Let’s do a quick repair.

Repairs are one of the ways that I always say that connection can occur during an ongoing conflict. Connection isn’t reserved just for those times when things are going “well”, and when thing are not going well, we have no connection.

Connection occurs during disagreements or regrettable incidents by using repairs.

Have you ever been in an argument with your partner, and just when you think you’re going to burst with frustration, they make a joke-and defuse the situation. That’s a quick repair. Maybe the best kind.

Suddenly the tension is defused. Humor , done right, is one of the most common repairs that couples use when experiencing conflict. But there’s a risk-Funny people know that trying to be funny runs the risk of saying the wrong thing, something that can hurt feelings. Stay away from sarcasm , and try to be self depracating, and you have a good shot at repair.

Here are some other ideas for repair if you need an effective way to defuse tension:

Ask “What do you need?”

Express affection, physically or verbally

Take responsibility for your part .

Express empathy-an understanding of the other person’s feelings.

Express gratitude for your relationship overall-despite this specific conflict.

Using these kinds of repair attempts can influence many confrontations and train you to be more aware of each other’s needs. They aren’t a quick fix , but repair attempts can prevent negative behavior and feelings from overwhelming a relationship.