Help! We’re Having a Noisy Argument!


She likes a quiet house, he likes to blast the TV and music for background noise all day.

How can they live together? [6:42]


Transcript: Welcome to Let’s Get Real! Today’s episode is about Solving a Noisy Argument.

Nadia from Albuquerque writes: “My husband and I have a running argument.  When we are home together on weekends, I’d like the house to be quiet, especially when I’m working on a project where I need to concentrate.  He, on the other hand, likes noise.  As soon as he gets out of bed he turns on the TV or stereo and leaves it on all day.  How can we resolve this?”

She really wants a quiet house.  And when he has the TV or stereo on, she calls that noise.  Well, if the stereo is on, that’s music.  If the TV is on, that’s entertainment.  So there’s a bit of a negative spin in here, don’t you think?  Well, yes, so I mean, if you want the house quiet then it feels negative.  You don’t want that “noise.”

The “noise” definitely creates an issue for her.  So, she has an unmet need here.  It’s not that the music is too loud or it’s not the kind of music she wants or whatever it is,  it’s not the “noise”, it’s she has a need and it’s not being met.

So Nadia let’s get real about this.  If you want peace in your household, if you want your need for no noise met, if you want any need met, you must talk about it with your partner and work something out, and so that’s a problem solving.

There are two major ways of problem-solving in a relationship.  One is negotiation. Negotiation is where you are finding a solution that meets both partners’ needs.  So, your boyfriend likes to have the TV on or music on as background noise, he might like it on all day and all night, and clearly that doesn’t work for you, and honestly for me that wouldn’t work for me either, so I’m with you on that.

So negotiation is where you can find a third option, find a solution that truly does meet both of your needs.  Compromise is what you do if negotiation don’t work out.  If you really can’t get creative enough and you can’t just find that third option, then it’s possible to compromise.  So compromise is where you both are giving up some of what you really want to meet in the middle someplace.

So, what do you think we could suggest as a negotiation? Well, to me, top of mind, I don’t know why they haven’t figure this out is headphones or earphones, earbuds.  He could be listening to the TV on a bluetooth headset all day.  He could have his ipod, you know, in his ears, you know, all day and all night if he wants to.  And, you know, he can just do this in his parents’ house, all the time, and so, you know,  I’m wondering, you know, why the obvious solution hasn’t come.  It might be about more than this.  It might be about some power struggle going on.  But if we’re just going to stay with the “noise” argument here, that you can negotiate something that truly works for both people, and your boyfriend wants background noise all the time, earbuds will make it quiet for you, problem-solved.

But if for some reason he has blocked ears or some a reason why that doesn’t work for him, then you might have to compromise. Right, so a couple of things that you might want to think about, maybe you can, there’s two days in the weekend, maybe you can have one of the day’s be a TV/stereo day, and the other day be a quiet day, and maybe you could get your projects done on the quiet day.  Or you can make an agreement that, you know, you have a quiet house when you’re doing projects and everything goes when you’re not doing a project.  So that would be an example of a compromise.  Chances are you might like it quieter than just when you doing projects.  Chances are you might be tempted to do projects all the time.  That wouldn’t be fair.

So that’s our best suggestion Nadia, and you know, truly please do talk with your boyfriend.  In any relationship, problem solving, bringing up a conversation around negotiation, how can both of our needs be met?  If you just you know, yell at your boyfriend, “Turn it off, turn it off, turn it off!”, “It’s too noisy I can’t stand it!”, then that’s not promoting a productive conversation.

So, very good luck to you Nadia, thank you for writing in, and if you have a comment or something to add to the conversation that might be helpful, please do put it in the comment box below.  And thanks for joining us.  Bye!



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