Most often we avoid conflict for fear of another’s reaction. What if they get angry and yell? What if I hurt their feelings? What if they tell me I’m crazy? These are valid considerations, but remember that you are in charge, and that if you feel unsafe, you can set a clear boundary by saying, “I understand you’re angry – maybe we can talk about this when you feel calmer.” Or, “I’m feeling attacked right now, so I’ll make myself available to discuss this issue when we can do it with respect.” Another reason we tend to sweep our feelings under the rug is that we prefer the status quo; we would rather stew in our own resentment than feel the acute discomfort of discussing it. But that logic is dubious because we’re choosing chronic discomfort over a short period of uneasiness. Ultimately, facing conflict can result in long-term relief.
Some of us lack confidence in expressing ourselves. We believe we aren’t the best communicators, or that we might get overly emotional if we talk about a subject that is charged. Learning good communication skills, like using “I” statements - which means taking responsibility for yourself and avoiding blame - can increase your confidence when you are facing conflict.
Generally, when choosing to address a conflict, keep the following goals in mind:
- Make it a “win-win” situation – go into the discussion with the intention of mutually resolving the issue, where the outcome is that both of you feel that at least some of your needs are met
- Do it at a time when things are relatively calm and quiet and neither of you are highly emotional
- Commit to being open and honest about your needs
- Commit to staying open and respectful of the other person’s needs
- Avoid surrendering just to end the conflict – if you are not making progress and cannot come to a joint solution, agree to end the discussion and meet again in a reasonable amount of time to revisit, with alternative solutions
5 Point Plan to Resolving Conflict
1. Identify the problem – both of you need to share your experience of the problem
2. Brainstorm solutions - explore and evaluate several solutions
3. Agree on solution – come to a mutual agreement that feels fair to both
4. Implement solution – clarify how solution will be executed (who does what)
5. Continue to evaluate solution – revisit and renegotiate solution based on needs
I wish you the best in resolving outstanding issues and believe, wholeheartedly, that you will succeed.
Many of us shy away from – if we don’t entirely avoid – conflict. Co-workers and friends, family members, even strangers can frustrate or anger us; they might hurt our feelings. Still we choose to keep it to ourselves for fear of igniting their anger, or perhaps we expect this person to dismiss our experience.
The reality is that conflict is not a bad thing. It allows us to express our needs and to renegotiate a situation that no longer works for us. We can spend incalculable time and energy avoiding the task of addressing personal issues; in fact, the mere thought of meeting a problem head-on, talking to someone about how we feel and what we need can whip us into such an anxious state that the actual confrontation often pales in comparison to the all-out war we imagined.
- Comment Link Friday, 10 May 2013 03:21 posted by gmzlskhy
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