No matter how much you like the other person, at some point, conflict is likely to happen. While most conflicts are fairly small (like trying to decide where to go out for dinner), left untended a conflict can fester and grow. That’s why it’s so important to resolve conflicts in your relationships before they have a chance to take on a life of their own.
How do you go about doing that?
1. Start by listening. But don’t just listen to the spoken words, but the feelings behind them. It’s the emotions that drive the conversation after all! By listening actively, meaning pausing to ask questions, clarify, and reiterate what you think the other person is saying, you tell the other person that what they have to say matters. But more importantly, you’re letting them know that they’re being heard.
2. Look for the resolution over being right. Giving up the notion that you have to ‘win’ is where you start seeing the solutions. Conflict is not a competition.
3. Stay in the moment. Instead of focusing on what happened that brought you into this conflict, pay attention to what’s going on right now. Now isn’t the time for blame. Rather look for solutions.
4. Decide what’s important right now. That is called ‘picking your battles’ and is important in determining whether a thing is worth fighting over. Ask yourself if this is just an issue over a minor annoyance that will be easily forgotten, or if you have something deeper going on that maybe needs to be addressed.
5. Know how and when to disengage. That means being able to do what it takes to walk away. It might be forgiveness is in order. It might be that you’re just going to need to agree to disagree. Worst case scenario? It might be time just to let the matter go entirely. Whatever the case, there’s nothing to be gained by staying in the conflict.
Resolving conflicts isn’t a hard skill to learn. By following these tips, you will discover how better to deal with conflict in every kind of relationship – whether business or personal. So take heart – a misunderstanding doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. Instead look at your conflict as a step toward better understanding that will, in turn, lead to better relationships in the long run.