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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-selling memoirs “The Beast Side: Living  (and Dying) While Black in America” and "The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir." His latest book, "We Speak For Ourselves: A Word From Forgotten Black America," is out now.

MORE FROM D. WatkinsFOLLOW @dwatkinsworld

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

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