How to let off steam without losing your cool

Don’t say ‘you always…’ do say ‘when you do x,i felt y’

Be specific and talk about how you feel. Blaming will only get an unhelpfully defensive response

Don’t say ‘you’re stupid/lazy’ do say ‘i didn’t like it when…’

Name-calling won’t get you anywhere. Criticise the behaviour, no the person.

Don’t say ‘we’re going to sort this if i takes all night’ do say ‘let’s discuss this tomorrow’

Tired arguing won’t lead to resolution. Come back to it, though or resentment may fester.

Don’t say ‘and another thing’ do say ‘i let’s stick to the point’

Don’t drag up every past misdemeanour – especially if your partner thought they’d been forgiven.


Your Boss Shoots You Down In Front Of Your Colleagues

CHALLENGE. ‘If it’s a one-off, let it go,’ says psychologist Miriam Akhtar. ‘But if she always acts like this, ask why.’ In private, explain you feel humiliated and ask that rather than blocking your suggestions, she gives your time to explain. If she feels they aren’t relevant, request she steers you towards what is – not show you up.

You’re On The End Of Some Stroppy Commuter Rage

Chill. The train’s late, everyone’s crushed, then someone pushes you and you’re furious. ‘If you hang onto every bad thing that happens, you’ll end up angry and exhausted,’ warns counsellor Christine Northam. ‘Shrug off small, everyday annoyances. If they really bother you, try rationalising – maybe the railway reprobate had a row with her boyfriend that morning?’

Your boyfriend embarrasses you in front of your friends

Challenge. You’re at a party when he recounts a cringey comment your once made after a few V&Ts. Everyone laughs but you’re mortified. ‘Address issues like this before resentment builds,’ say Christin. ‘Ask why he make a fool of you. If he’s not sorry, decide whether this is the sort of behaviour you can put up with long term.’

He’s left his wet towel on the bed. Again

Chill. You’ve asked him a hundred times to put it back in the bathroom but he doesn’t listen. ‘Put his behaviour in context,’ says Christine. ‘If he never picks up towels but always brings you tea in bed, you might overlook the damp duvet. People have different standards; some people are messy, some are hypercritical – both are hard to live with!’

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