Avoiding arguments may feel like the healthier choice. A study says otherwise.

It may feel more comfortable, at least temporarily, to avoid an argument with someone rather than address concerns that are eating at you.

However, research suggests that if an argument resolves, the emotional response tied to it significantly reduces or is almost completely erased.

So it may be worth bringing up issues with a partner, family member, or coworker rather than holding back.

First, there is a difference between arguing and fighting. Arguing is when you and your partner present your concerns and discuss the feelings and issues related to those concerns. You may agree to disagree, choose a course of action, or table the argument for future discussion. You can engage in an argument respectfully and without stirring up anger. For a more detailed definition of “argument,” watch this Monty Python sketch:

Fighting, however, usually involves personal attacks, raising of voices, and storming out. It is quite easy to slide from argument to fight, especially when there are heightened emotions. (You probably wouldn’t even be discussing a topic with your partner if you didn’t have some emotional investment in it.) However, you can argue with a partner without it devolving into a fight — if you are equally committed to keeping your emotions in check and being respectful toward each other.