All relationships, whether romantic or platonic, involve some degree of tension. Disagreements arise, feelings are hurt, and it can be hard to know how to navigate these moments without making things worse. When tensions run high, we often default to trying to control the other person or situation—but this rarely works. Instead, learning how to control ourselves is key. It starts with understanding where tension comes from and why it exists in the first place.
The Role of the Ego in Creating Tension in Relationships
One of the primary sources of tension in our relationships is our egos—the part of us that strives for control and wants things its own way at all costs. Our ego feels threatened by anything that challenges its worldview and beliefs; when someone disagrees with us, our ego comes out fighting for dominance. This is why it’s so important to recognize our own ego-driven behaviors and learn how to manage them effectively.
Strategies for Reducing Tension
The best way to reduce tension in a relationship is by taking ownership of your own feelings and actions—not trying to control the other person's behavior or emotions. Here are some tips and strategies you can use when you find yourself disagreeing with someone:
• Avoid assigning blame or making accusations —and own your own emotions
• Listen actively instead of trying to dominate the conversation
• Acknowledge the other person’s perspective before expressing your own opinion
• Ask open-ended questions about their point of view
• Take time outs if needed
• Focus on finding common ground rather than emphasizing differences
• Apologize if necessary and don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong
These strategies will help you reduce tension while still allowing both parties involved to express themselves freely without feeling silenced or judged.
At times, disagreements between two people can be a source of stress and strain on a relationship; however, they don’t have to be negative experiences if both parties are willing to take ownership over their own feelings and actions. By understanding how our egos play a role in creating tension, we can better recognize our ego-driven behaviors and make conscious decisions about how we respond in heated situations. With patience, empathy, and practice, we can learn how reduce tension in relationships by focusing on controlling ourselves – not the other person – whenever disagreement arises.