Two phrases that will keep you out of trouble no matter what.
I’d like a little time to think about that.
• I’m not sure why you think that, would you please explain.

The first one is all about buying time – and so is the second one!

‘I’d like some time to think about that’, gives you time to
• step back,
• reflect,
• walk away,
• come up with an excuse,
• plan your answer,
• check your facts
It actually gives you time to do anything you like – except get drawn into a situation you are not sure about.
Use this phrase to avoid arguments, e.g., Your partner accuses you of taking him for granted or spending too much money. Don’t bite back, just say, ‘I’d like some time to think about that’ .
Now you can work out how you are going to handle his accusation, maybe it’s true and you will apologise and come up with some ideas to change things.
If it’s not true, you can go back and say, Thank-you, I’ve thought about what you said but, “I’m not sure why you think that, would you please explain”
People love to be listened to, so just listen, you’ve had time to think things through, you’ll know where you are coming from, therefore, you will be able to handle the situation more easily.
After listening, respectfully and attentively, you can, if you need to, say, “ I’d like some time to think about that”. Of course you may not need time to think about it, you may be in a position to handle things in a calm and productive manner, but if not, take some more time out.
Couple these two phrases with this one, “ I’m not sure that I agree with what you are saying, let me check I have understood”. Follow this by repeating back to the person what they have just told you, but in your own words, they will know that you have listened, they will hear what they have said – which isn’t necessarily what they meant – and you will both be clear about the issue. It is important here to stick to the issue in hand, don’t get caught up in blaming or bringing up other stuff. If your partner tries to do that, simply say, “At the moment, we are discussing ….., I’d appreciate it if we could deal with that before we get onto another topic”.
Stick with the issue in hand and if you feel yourself getting wound up or angry, use one of the key phrases.
Using the second phrase, “I’m not sure why you think that, would you please explain” as a first response has the effect of making people stop and think about what they just said, it also gives you some time to come up with your answer to their comment, but often they will change it, they’ll say something like, “ah, well, I didn’t really mean that….” Or something similar. It’s up to you then where you go with it, you can ask what they did mean, or retire gracefully, either way, you have control.
If they repeat it without explanation, stick to your guns and say, “Yes, I hear what you are saying, but I don’t understand why you are saying it, please explain”, this puts the responsibility back with them to justify their comments.
You just need to be ready to come up with a solution to the problem if you are at fault, and as above, stick to the issue in hand, don’t get drawn into the blame game or take on board any other topics.
These two phrases are usually enough to stop any argument in it’s tracks, or at least defuse it from argument to discussion.

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