Do you find it hard to resolve your arguments?
Interpersonal conflict is a normal part of life. We are all unique beings with our individualized beliefs, opinions, perspectives and personality traits. So in a relationship, there are bound to be some clashes, disputes or disagreements as people bump up against their divergent attitudes.
There is nothing wrong with having a disagreement. It is how each person chooses to handle the conflict that matters. In this article, I will encourage people to handle their struggles in a way that it is resolved in a positive, Win/Win, and respectful outcome.
What is Conflict?
Conflict has been defined as a struggle between two parties who perceive they have incompatible, opinions, methods, viewpoints, financial choices, parenting techniques, rules and so forth. Where, at least, at that moment they lock heads and are fighting to come up with a positive resolution to their differences. Or sometimes because of strong feelings, stop trying or caring about working things out.
Is Conflict always Negative?
If a dispute is handled poorly, unreasonably or disrespectfully, it can develop damaging feelings, deepen differences or polarize positions. However, well managed conflict can lead to constructive changes, give insight and improve understanding. Conflict can bring to light differences but if worked through properly can bring people closer together. Think of all the movies you have watched where two people or groups dislike each other and then in the end become close friends. Look at the relationship the U.S, now has with Germany and Japan where once we fought a World War. Resolving arguments can increase understanding, release feelings/stress, resolve tension and clear the air. This in turn can build a stronger connection and deepen comprehension in a relationship.
Negative ways to Deal with Conflict:
- Winner takes all through strength, power or intimidation.
- The compromise is lacking for both sides and then both parties become less committed to a positive outcome.
- Denial or avoidance causes everyone to pretend there is no problem and therefore nothing ever changes, improves or gets resolved.
- Ignoring the problem so harmony is maintained but the underlying conflict continues to fester.
Productive Skills for Handling Conflict:
If you are striving for a healthy, happy relationship, both sides can learn the basic skills to resolve their problems in a constructive and beneficial manner. There are a wide range of useful habits for conducting conflict productivity. Conflict Resolution is NOT about winning the argument. It is a method for learning a positive, respectful, and constructive way to work through relationship disputes.
Would you like to learn a step by step way to handle your conflicts better?
Here are some tangible tips, and down-to-earth methods for Positive Resolutions:
To Start the process off on the right foot, both parties must agree to respect each other:
- Decide to try and solve the problem.
- Agree not to interrupt.
- Decide to not name call, swear, and use put-downs or unkind words.
- Agree to stay respectful.
- Decide to talk about how you felt (not blaming words).
- Agree to tell the truth.
Now for the Steps of the actual Process:
- Identify the specific conflict. (only talk about one issue at a time….try not to become sidetracked by other issues)
- Tell what happened to you. ( Your side, opinions, perspective)
- Listen to the other person tell their side without interruption.
- Say what you could do to help solve the problem.
- Allow the other individual to say what they are willing to do to solve the problem.
- Each person tells how he or she will handle the problem differently in the future.( explore Solutions, options, common ground, throw out idea’s that aren’t compatible, keep altering the solution until both sides feel it would work for each other)
- Each individual states what he or she needs to feel the conflict is resolved.
- Each person stated what he or she would be willing to do for the other side to resolve the problem.
- Evaluate the solutions. Decide which solution works best and benefits both people. Find Win/Win solutions. (To learn more, check out “The Top skill for productive Conflict Outcomes is: Win/Win Solutions” by Vicki Langemo, LPC, MA.)
- Both people agree to what needs to be done so the problem will be solved and they follow through with their part.
- Both individuals agree the problem is resolved.
- Put the new solution into Action. Did it work for both? If yes….you have solved your
problem. If not, you will need to alter the solution until it works.
- Praise, Praise, Praise yourselves for finding healthy and positive solutions to your conflicts and arguments. This is an awesome skill to develop. It will help in all aspects of your life.
CONGRATULATIONS ON SOLVING YOUR CONFLICT!
After reading this article, you have now learned a process for working out your interpersonal conflicts in a positive and beneficial way. The tips are straight forward but putting them into practice can be hard. This is because emotions often run hot in a dispute. Take time to calm down and come into the discussion with the mindset of working it out. If you have trouble controlling your anger or stress, I have an 8 part series on anger management: “Overcoming Anger, Take back Control” and also writings on Stress Management found on my website at www.suportivetalk.com . You may also choose to book a conversation with me to help you with this process.
Otherwise, this method just takes practice to perfect. Keep trying because this skill will lead to healthier, happier and more beneficial relationships and enrich your life for the better.
For more information on this process, you can read, “Conflict Management: A practical Guide to Developing Negative Strategies” by Barbara A. Budjac Corvette, Ph.D. and “Negotiation” by Roy Lewieki and David Saunders.