I’ve gone through high school and have completed two years of college so you could say I’ve gone through my fair share of conflicts. I’ve had conflicts with friends, family, boyfriends, and work relationships and I’ve come to find out what works and what doesn’t. Sometime it’s easy to point fingers and place blame on everyone else but yourself but the truth is that’s not healthy for any type of relationship. Stop thinking as conflicts as something negative and a time to play the victim. Start thinking of conflicts as a way to grow, become a better person, and become a better friend, partner, and coworker. Conflict can be a positive and beneficial thing if you let it be that way. So, here are my best tips for dealing with conflict and how to make it the most positive thing it can be.
#1: Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
This is the biggest piece of advice I can give you and if you take anything from this blog post I hope this is the one you take note of. I think so many of us find it so easy to point fingers and place blame in the heat of the moment but truthfully, the world would be a better place if we just took a second to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. Think about how you would feel if you were in the other person’s situation and how you would have reacted before you say anything. Because you may be surprised to learn that most of the time you would feel or have done the same thing and that makes it a little easier to have a real and constructive conversation.
#2: Confront things before they get out of hand.
I think one of the biggest mistake people make in a conflict is letting it sit and fester for a long time and then finally blowing up and letting it blow way out of proportion. You find yourself saying things you were mad at years before and how fair is that to the other person? How were they supposed to apologize for something they didn’t even know you were mad for? The best way to do this is to just start a conversation. Begin by saying, “Hey I feel this way” and letting the conversation go from there.
#3: Communicate face to face or talking on the phone instead of texting.
Oh my goodness. In this day and age, this one gets forgotten a whole hell of a lot. It’s so easy to snap or text someone because we are too afraid to actually say things to someone face to face and hiding behind a screen makes it a lot easier to say things you wouldn’t normally say. I know for sure that I’ve said mean things in a fight just because texting made it a lot easier to and I know for a fact that if we were conversating in person I would have NEVER said them. Just be careful what you’re saying and how you’re saying them ESPECIALLY if you are texting. But I really suggest, at any cost, to please talk in person if you are in a fight.
#4: Make sure to say things like “I feel” instead of “you did this” or make accusations.
I’ve noticed that if you say words that place blame and are accusatory the other person tends to get REALLY defensive and I know for sure I get the same way. It just doesn’t start the conversation on the right foot and leads to a lot of unintended escalation. So make sure you are communicating in a way that leads to a healthy conversation with no hostility or defensive attacks.
#5: Make sure to admit your own mistakes.
You can’t tell me that you’ve never made a mistake while in a conflict or done something to start the conflict. It’s so easy to forget these things and just highlight the mistakes of the other person but be truthful and reflective. This keeps you in check and aware of your actions and I bet the other person involved will appreciate it too!
#6: Don’t talk crap.
I know, it’s so dang easy to talk about the conflict to other people and saying things in the heat of the moment because you feel like you just need to “vent” but I can tell you from experience that this will only bite you in the butt. I promise you! Instead, journal or talk to your Mom or Dad. You know for sure they won’t say anything and most likely they may give you some good advice! My mom usually plays devils advocate and makes me think of all different sides of the argument and that really helps too!
#7: Take a step back and cool off if you’re going to say something ugly.
If you find yourself feeling really heated and can’t get yourself to calm down or speak civilly then I suggest you tell the other person that you need to take a little bit of time to calm down and gather your thoughts. I’ve been on the other side of this and it sucks and makes me irritated because I just want to talk it out but I think being told mean things would be a lot worse. I bet you wouldn’t want to say really ugly things to someone you really care about either especially if you didn’t mean them!
I know it can be so easy to want to tell your side of the story but most of the time it causes a lot of anger and miscommunication because we don’t actually know what the other person is feeling. A lot of things can be taken out of context or misheard and actions can be misinterpreted so we need to step back and LISTEN. Make sure you are taking note to what the other person is saying and again, put yourself in their shoes. I promise if both parties do this the conflict will resolve itself pretty dang quickly.
#9: Pay attention to your nonverbal cues.
Even if you’re saying the right things they mean nothing if you are crossing your arms, rolling your eyes, or clenching your fists. Those things say a lot more than your words do and people really do take note of them. So, be very careful what your body is saying! If you are in an argument, stop and observe what your body is saying and if you notice some negative nonverbal cues reverse them! Soon your body will be used to being open and welcoming during an argument and it won’t resort back to it’s normal habit.
I hope you found some helpful tips in today’s blog post and hopefully you can incorporate it in your next conflict no matter what relationship it occurs in. As always, if you have any questions about today’s post please contact me! I would be more than happy to chat!