Archive for the ‘Conflict Resolution’ Category


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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”