CONFLICT RESOLUTION

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CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Conflict seems to be part of nature and human life. Animals fight over turf and access to desirable mates. So do people. We fight for territory, mates, survival, dominance, and a host of other complex issues. Some disagreement seems to be inevitable, but how much we fight, how we fight, and how we resolve conflict have a major impact on our relationships, health, success, and happiness.

If, like myself, you’re interested in living a happy, successful life with minimum conflict, here are a few suggestions.

Prevention is easier than cure – to avoid conflict and stress –

  • Be slow to accuse. Allow for  misunderstanding, your own errors, and good intentions. Ask for clarification.
  • Phrase things in neutral ways. Saying that something is missing is less confrontational than accusing someone of taking it.  Saying you don’t understand the discrepancy between a C- exam and a A paper and asking for an explanation is less confrontational than accusing someone of plagiarism. (They can still redo the paper).
  • Avoid disrespectful, hurtful language. Words and phrases like “Shut up! ”  “Stupid!” curse words, ethnic/religious slurs, sexual slurs (like “slut” ), homophobic remarks, etc. escalate conflict and create bad feelings.
  • Cooperate with a reasonable request: Don’t defend or justify. Just do it.
  • Rudeness does not require a counter-attack. Try to set limits without escalating.
  • Useful phrases: “What do you think?” “How do you feel about…?” “I’m sorry.”

If you are already in a conflict situation, here are a few suggestions.

  • Vent safely: write it out, talk to someone you know you can trust – preferably not in your office or connected to the person you’re in conflict with.  If you’re a celebrity, be very careful about this.
  • Vent physically: Exhale sharply several times.  Then breathe deeply and slowly. Exercise. Walk around the block.
  • Do a CPA: How did I Create, Promote, or Allow this situation to occur.  Even if we think  the other person is 99% in the wrong, there is still that annoying 1%  🙂
  • Speak to the person in private or over the phone when it’s convenient – public accusations tend to escalate into fights.  Ask if this is a good time to talk.
  • Write a letter or Email – revise several times until you can do it without accusing. Writing gives you a chance to control your communication and keeps you at a distance. In-person communication is what you ultimately need for intimates – even if you email first.
  • Try to include at least some of the following in your communication.
  • Compliments – is there anything you like or admire about the person? Say it.
  • State the facts and state your feelings Keep your dignity. There’s no need to put up with disrespect or to lie – and no need to make negative generalizations about the other person’s character.
  • Make the other person at least partly right: A lot of conflict is about being right, so tell the other person where they are right and what you learned from them. Empathize with their situation.
  • Look for ways to agree /look for common goals and values. Don’t pretend to agree where you do not or promise to change behavior that you have no intention of changing – just focus on what you have in common.
  • Apologize where appropriate and where you can be truthful.  You can be sorry that you offended them  – even if it was unintentional.
  • Wish them well. Why not ? It costs you nothing, and makes you feel gracious.

If the other person continues to fight, you don’t have to. Stop emailing, get off the phone, walk away.  Give everybody a chance to cool off.

Ask yourself: is this really worth fighting for?

If the answer is yes – then go for it!  Don’t give up your own dreams or dignity to avoid conflict.  Conflict is not always bad – sometimes it’s the price we pay to live a full life.

But if, in the grand scheme of things – and your life – it’s not really that important, ask yourself – would I rather be right or be happy? If you would rather be happy, then let it go- and enjoy your life!

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance!”
Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue
Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) “Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF”

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