I don’t like conflict.
Very few people actually like conflict. Can you be OK with that? Some conflict is necessary even though you don’t want to have it.
When you avoid necessary conflict, that is weakness. That is not courage or bravery. It is not helpful to any relationship.
Necessary conflict means that it’s conflict that will come out that has to be dealt with even though it’s awkward and you don’t like it.
That’s part of being an adult. Adults deal with necessary conflict.
If you choose not to do with a necessary conflict you warp any relationship.
Pay attention to how you feel when there is conflict. Deal with those feelings.
If someone is telling you that they don’t like what you did, sit with that. Just listen to them.
You don’t necessarily owe them an apology, but you might. You might just need to hear them out and acknowledge their perspective.
Even if you don’t agree with them, can you acknowledge that they have a perspective?
To that person their feelings are reasonable. When you say that someone is being ridiculous, what you’re saying is that you don’t understand their perspective. Pretty much everyone on the planet thinks that they’re being reasonable at the time.
Later on, they might challenge it, but at the time what I was doing was reasonable to me even if it made no sense to you. I am not obligated to make sense to you.
Let’s look at one or two steps of conflict. A relationship is based on relating to one another.
When someone does something or says something, how do you relate to their behavior or their speech? You can say “when you did x I felt—"
In this field, we call that an I statement. When you left the dishes in the sink overnight, I felt resentful. I felt frustrated that I had to clean up after you. I felt irritated that the kids didn’t do what I asked them to do.
I felt disappointed that I didn’t get what I wanted. I felt discouraged that we’ve come this far and there’s still so much more to go. These are examples of i statements and they’re very low level confrontation that you do early on during conflict.
When you do have to confront some thing, you’ve chosen this battle, you’ve chosen to do I statements as feedback rather than criticize the person. You can also choose to express a need.
For example, did you know that with anger there’s often an unmet need?
I like when someone listens to me when I’m talking, especially if I’m hurting. A basic human need is to feel understood.
I appreciate when somebody takes the time and effort to understand me. This often will be enough to get rid of the conflict.
If the person is listening to me only to correct me, change me, convert me, persuade me, or use my words against me, I really don’t like that.
That’s almost an instant fight if they listen and immediately say “yes but,”- what I hear is that they didn’t really listen they want me to listen to them without having to listen to me.
That doesn’t land well for most people and I don’t like it, either. So, when you’re having conflict, listening is huge and then letting the person know that you get where they’re coming from, if you get where they’re coming from.
If you don’t know where they’re coming from then you go back and you clarify. You can also use sound effects when you’re listening to let the person know that you get where they’re coming from.
If it’s something that’s painful that they’re expressing, it’s common to say, “that sucks.” The person usually feels heard and can keep going on.
If you can do the basics here, you actually reduce conflict and prevent unnecessary conflict.
Practice the skills and keep practicing as they are the fundamentals. If you can’t do the fundamentals the other parts are gonna be significantly harder.