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Guard it—follow ground rules. Every conflict needs ground rules. Don't resort to extremes in addressing the situation—"always" and "never" are extremes spoken with gross exaggeration. Be careful to stay focused on the specific action or words that upset you, telling the person how it made you feel. Attacking the person over the behavior is not healthy or acceptable communication.

Ask—don't attack. There are two (or more) sides to every story. You see things from one perspective: yours. Don't fly off the handle and attack the other person. Ask questions, and give the other person a chance to explain his or her perspective. Genuine curiosity about other perspectives is an indicator that you are handling anger in a healthy way.

Don't discard the relationship—repair it. Some relationships in life are disposable—the person who sat next to you in the first grade, the person you were dating that was clearly wrong for you. But for the people closest to you, it's worth fighting for and repairing those relationships. Nobody is perfect. Not even you. Therefore, relationships are messy, and no relationship survives long-term without forgiveness. Anger flags something is wrong, but that doesn't mean you have to walk away at first blush. Strive to hear each other out, resolve the issue, learn from the experience, and move on together. Healthy relationships need lots of apologies and forgiveness.

The next time anger rises up inside you, take a moment to ask yourself why you are feeling that way, and use the steps above to navigate a healthy discussion regarding.

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