Conflict as an opportunity for a better relationship

No matter where you work or who you live with, you’ll experience conflict. This is especially true mid-summer; as temperatures rise, so do our tempers. Not to mention there are new transitions happening at home. In mid to late summer you begin thinking about the kids going back to school and new work schedules; often there is accompanying guilt that comes from trying to be all things to all people.

For most of us, dealing with conflict is upsetting. We’re not comfortable getting angry and, or worse, dealing with someone else’s anger. Most of us try to ignore it until it’s directed at us. There are things you can do to ease conflict and turn it into an opportunity for a better a relationship instead of a screaming match. Below are suggestions that work in the boardroom as well as the bedroom:

  1. Deal with the problem when it is small. Intense conflict often happens because the individuals involved may talk about it to others but not to each other.
  2. Talk about your conflict in privacy. Shouting in front of colleagues or friends is unprofessional and escalates quickly. At home, set a quiet environment to talk about your problem.
  3. When you get together, focus on how you can resolve the situation instead of how you can win. Tell your coworker or partner that you want to make sure you understand what was said and their point of view. Getting their perspective minimizes their defensiveness.
  4. Stay away from blaming or accusing your co-worker. Rumors get started and the truth is often misrepresented. Friends or coworkers may begin taking sides. Listening and hearing your partner or coworker out may end the conflict because hearing each other’s truth calms both sides.
  5. Own your part of the problem. Step up and take responsibility for your part to demonstrate respect and maturity.
  6. Explore workable solutions to the conflict. Within every conflict, there is a solution, but both people need to make the necessary sacrifices for forgiveness. Both people also need insight into their own weakness.

Conflict happens; when it happens, you may find yourself involved in a battle that looks more like a child’s playground than an adult relationship or office. When people are upset, they default back to what they witnessed or learned as children. Recognize when you’re feeling uncomfortable and address the conflict privately and quietly to find an agreeable situation and maintain peace at work and home.

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