1. Chill out. Attempting to begin a dialogue when one or both of you are in a very negative headspace will cause the person who behaves passive-aggressively to shut down or to escalate the situation. Take a minute to chill out and calm down before approaching each other and the issue.
2. Talk it out. Don’t try to guess or assume you know what your partner is feeling or thinking. Instead, ask your partner how he or she feels.
3. Brainstorm. The work of being in a successful relationship takes two people. As often as possible, come up with ideas for solutions to your issues together. Make your list of options as long and as wide-ranging as possible.
4. List pros and cons. Once you’ve finished brainstorming a list of possible solutions, talk through the pros and cons of each idea on the list.
5. Win-win. The best solution is the one where both of you win the most and lose the least.
6. Execute the plan. Take your win-win solution and execute it. It may take some time to see if it works. Make a plan in advance for when you’ll come back to evaluate.
7. Evaluate. Did your solution work? If not, try one of the other solutions on your list for another trial period.
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