Posted by Mike Foster: In order to "clean fight" you have to have a speaker and listener. In Part 1 we talked about the speaker's steps recommended by Pete and Geri Scazzero from Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.

SPEAKER: STEP 1.State the problem. STEP 2. Tell why it is important to you. STEP 3. Use the "When you...I feel..." formula. STEP 4. State clearly, respectfully and specifically your request.

Now let's talk about the steps for the listener.

Something that is very important in "clean fighting" is that the listener repeats what the speaker is saying to them at each step. This forces the speaker to be concise and clear with the statements. It also guarantees that the listener is actually listening and comprehending what is being said to them.


Speaker: "When you talk with food in your mouth, I feel very stressed." Listener: "So when I am eating and I talk with food in my mouth, you feel stressed."

This may seem a little strange and not a "normal" communication pattern but trust me this is important to get to resolution.

So after the speaker has worked through their 4 steps, you (as the listener) should:


STEP 5: Consider the request. Briefly (and I mean briefly) share your perspective. "I had no idea it bothered you. I was unaware I talk with food in my mouth."

STEP 6: The listener now responds to the clear, respectful, and specific request of the Speaker. (See Step 4) Are you as the listener willing to do all of it, part of it, or none of it?

STEP 7: Agree on request or offer an alternative. (Do this no more than 3 times.)

STEP 8: Together write down an agreement. Put both of your names on it and what you agree to. Writing it down is important for accountability and clarity. Then revisit in 2-4 weeks and discuss.

Clean fighting is not easy and takes a lot of work and focus. But if you follow these steps I'm certain you will discover how it benefits your relationships.

So what's harder for you? Being the speaker or the listener? Do you think this will work in your conflict situations?