After I wrote the last posting about toddler tantrums, it occurred to me that adult tantrums are just the same, and can be handled in much the same manner.
Think about it. When you fight with your spouse or friend, the root cause is that you don't feel that they heard, understand, or care about your feelings. Now we don't have power to change the other person, but the change can start with us.
The next time you find yourself part of a tantrum (fight) step back emotionally and think, "the reason they are yelling is because they want me to hear them." Then LISTEN!!! You don't have to agree, but you do need to listen and try to understand their point of view. Repeat back to them what you understood their needs/concerns to be. This gives them a chance to fully get out the details or clarify when you may not fully understand something.
There are times when DH and I can get a little tense over something. There have been times where he said something and the way it came off hurt. (It could've been that I was just being super sensitive.) My reaction used to be to either go on the defensive or just clam up. He would ask for another chance to clarify, reassuring me that he would never hurt me on purpose. Now when this happens I say, "Do you want to clarify that," or, "That hurt me, do you want to try again?" I do this, because I really do want to understand what he is saying and I don't want to leave the conversation feeling hurt!
How do you diffuse tense times in your marriage or other relationships?