Sex & Relationships

This Is The One Word You Should Use To Diffuse Any Argument With Your Partner

It's not 'sorry'.

Unless you're part of one of those couples that say "But we never argue!" (weirdos), arguments in a relationship are an expected part of spending a prolonged period of time with one person.

But it's good to know when—and how—to curb one effectively.

In an interview with Business Insider, relationship expert Hal Runkel (that's Mr. Runkel to you!), explains that the best word for diffusing any fight with your partner is not "DISARM!" or even "sorry", it's "Ouch."


Yes... Ouch

Allow Mr. Runkel to explain.

"When [you're] in conflict, inevitably [you] will say something that hurts the other person using the 'inside information' that you have on them or that they have on you."

As in: Your partner knows you're struggling to lose weight and they blurt out, Of course you didn't take five minutes to walk the dog—you were too busy stuffing your face!

At that moment, Runkel says, "Everything in you wants to scream something right back at them: 'Oh yeah? Well, you're starting to look like your mother!'"


Here's where the word "ouch" comes in handy. Runkel explained that the best response in this situation is simply, "Ouch. That one hurt. I don't know if you were meaning to hurt me; I don't know if that's what you were going for; but that's what you did."

Your partner may get defensive and say something back like, "You've said some pretty hurtful things to me!"

Now here's your line: "You're right. I have, and I hate that I have."


"That conversation —which was a very familiar path, that fight—is now a totally different path because one of you chose to actually get vulnerable."

Bloody hell, Hal, you might be on to something here.

According to Mr. Runkel, displaying vulnerability is the key to moving through an argument, as opposed to running out of the room crying and screaming with your hands waving madly in the air... which we've definitely never done.

"That hurt. Tell me what you'd like me to do with that." Hal says.

Thanks Mr. Runkel.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

Recommended Videos
View More Articles About:
More Videos You Can Watch
About The Author
Esquire UK Editors
View Other Articles From Esquire
Latest Feed
Load More Articles
Connect With Us