(Getty Images)

How to argue safely in a relationship

We all know those couples who argue all the time and still make it work. Rhetoric expert Jay Heinrichs explains how

D. Watkins
September 19, 2017 11:58AM (UTC)

The one thing I have mastered in life is the art of destroying a romantic relationship. No matter how hard I try, I always seem to mess things up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of commitment. And I try to avoid unnecessary conflict. However, my inability to communicate effectively has been cited as a primary reason for my failed partnerships. I didn’t know I wasn’t using rhetoric as effectively as I could have until master rhetorician Jay Heinrichs, author of "Thank You for Arguing," stopped by the Salon studio with some insights on how simply rearranging your words can save a relationship.

Heinrichs has traveled the world as a presenter and persuasion guru, and his books are used to teach the construction of successful arguments in classrooms across the country. He says the amount of time a couple spends arguing isn't necessarily an indicator of whether or not they'll stay together.


“The difference is that the couples who break apart fight. They don’t try to set a goal for what they are trying to achieve,” Heinrichs told me during an episode of "Salon Talks."

“They don’t try to make choices together; they just try to prove that the other is a jerk."

That approach isn't just unkind. Heinrichs says it runs counter to his "mantra" of rhetoric.

"It’s not about you; it’s about your audience, which can be just one person — their beliefs and expectations, what they desire.”

Watch the full "Salon Talks" conversation on Facebook.

Tune into Salon's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage," daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET /1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon and on Facebook.


D. Watkins

D. Watkins is an Editor at Large for Salon. He is also a professor at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project. Watkins is the author of the New York Times best-sellers “The Beast Side: Living  (and Dying) While Black in America” and "The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir."

MORE FROM D. WatkinsFOLLOW @dwatkinsworld

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Authors Books Jay Heinrichs Original Video Relationships Salon Talks Thank You For Arguing


Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •