Resolving Conflict

I’ve been going through a bit of conflict resolution recently.

Here’s what I’ve learnt:

  • Remove emotion (if possible).  When I am emotional I can not think or communicate clearly.  I have to get rid of my emotion surrounding the issue of contention. I do this through venting to someone else, preferably a third party far removed from the situation.
  • Once I’ve calmed down a bit it’s time to think logically. What is the true issue here? What is the other persons point of view? (this is very important as it allows me to approach the other person without aggression, so that they can respond in an empowered way.)
  • Is it time to raise this issue with them? I had to ask a couple of questions. What is my motive for speaking about this issue? Relieve my own stress? Point out someone else’ faults? (I never find that one a good reason to confront someone.) Break a tense atmosphere? Communicate so that we could all approach the situation in a united way?
  • It was the latter and so something had to be said. If it was just my own stress I would have had to look at myself a bit and think about whether I needed to do a bit of interior work on myself.
  • I had to approach this problem from two sides. I had to thoroughly examine my own side so that I knew exactly where I was coming from and what I needed to say (being a writing person rather than a speaking-on-my-feet sort of person, rehearsing this a little was critical for me.) I also had to think about what they might be feeling. How had my issues affected them? How could I communicate my problems whilst acknowledging their take on the situation and inviting their input, because, ultimately I did not want this to become a blame game and raise their defences I wanted to come to a common agreement where we could work on the issue together. I had to make the issue the problem not the people.
  • Finally I was ready. At the right time ( a private moment) I asked if I could speak to them and we had a great conversation (straight away. I hate it when people set a date: ‘I need to speak to you.’ It makes me nervous for days!). The most important thing I did at this time was: I made myself vulnerable. I admitted my stress, showing I was not angry or wanting to ‘beat’ them or win at an argument. I had to show them the trueness of my feelings and the truth was: the problem was getting to me and I couldn’t carry it on my own. To show them my vulnerable side was to show them that there was a place for them to step in and help me.
  • People like to help others (unless they are truly narcissistic) and people do not like to be attacked.  I don’t need to attack anyone, I would rather find a way to draw out their good, being honest and vulnerable can do this.

I’ve learnt a lot about conflict resolution this time around.  A difficult situation has been appeased and a way is now clear for further openness down the track. There is no tension. Allowing a two way conversation has allowed a common understanding and an empathetic outlook from both parties. We are closer now. That is a true sign of resolved conflict! Huzzah.

I really hope I get better at this along the road of life. Resolving tense situations is such an important part of life and I would rather be able to diffuse sticky situations than run away from them.


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