. can be intimidating whether it is with a partner, coworker, boss, or friend. Even if you identify as being a person who approaches in a straightforward manner, there are strategies to help you improve in
Whether you feel scared, eager, or neutral when you enter a with yourself or another person; there are tools you can use to grow from the in a .
The best conflicts will help your relationships. You can make a better, worse, or more neutral. Though it can be difficult to maintain neutrality when there is a , you can develop your skills to maintain inner peace even if your external factors feel chaotic.
is a natural part of life, so rather than give yourself unfair expectations every time it happens, you can develop tools to help neutralize the experience. If you find yourself in the middle of many conflicts frequently, you can reflect on this pattern as well. Living in extremes of no or much usually indicates that there is an opportunity for self-reflection.
Here are 5 ways to help you resolve with a healthy approach:
1. Identify Your Boundaries.
Once you know what you are willing to accept, you can navigate how this feels in relation to others. By identifying your boundaries, you may feel more empowered to assertively approach because you will feel less victimized or have the need to victimize to get your point across.
Using an assertive manner resolves conflicts in a because there is less or build up of explosive . can lead to or because there is a lack of . Clear expectations can lead to greater understanding in your relationships. Aggressive and passive-aggressive during a can end or worsen relationships.
For example, if you or a loved one haven’t done the dishes in a couple of days, the three different styles may sound like this:
Passive-aggressive: Oh, I guess the dishes haven’t been done again. That’s a shame because I was really hoping to make dinner with you tonight.
Aggressive: How idiotic do you have to be not to know how to clean dishes? Get this cleaned up!
Assertive: I feel disorganized when dishes are in the sink. Are you willing to help clean them up? I want to make dinner with you tonight and a clean kitchen helps me to feel better in the space.
2. Get To The Point With “I” Language Instead Of “You” Language.
Clear is kinder than unclear. When you are approaching , letting your feelings stew is unhelpful. It can also lead to unnecessary , more , and .
Manipulation occurs when you make others guess how you are . Saying things like, “You should know how I am ” will not resolve conflicts. It is your job to communicate how you feel.
For example, people can’t guess when you are changing lanes on the freeway. The way you let people know you are doing that is by putting on your turn signal. That way, other drivers can choose to let you into their lane or not. By putting on your turn signal, you are making your needs clear. The same goes for emotions.
When you clearly indicate how you feel or what you need, people are much more receptive. Sometimes, significant people in your life won’t know there is a until you explicitly tell them. For example, you may be having a with a coworker at or in the .
in a may sound like this:
You: I feel dismissed in our meetings when you interrupt while I am sharing ideas. I want to help the in an effective way. Can you wait until I am finished speaking before you add?
Coworker: I want to make sure that my ideas are shared within our too, and I don’t feel like I am being heard.
You: I understand how that feels. What solution feels comfortable to you when this occurs?
Coworker: I don’t want to forget what I am trying to say, so do you mind if I start the about the projects I am leading in meetings?
You: Yes, you are welcome to start the for your projects so that we can both be heard.
When you express yourself with willingness, you may find out that people in your life also have unmet needs. Coming up with a solution together can empower both parties, whether it be a .
3. Make An The , Not A Person.
When you solve problems together in your relationships, you can improve the dynamic.
To . Instead of person vs. person, the becomes vs. . This helps create in the . up together against the helps set up
When you make people the the with both people, teamwork is already in place. , resentments can fester and can be inevitable. By approaching
There can be the is the person. This sets up failure because it personalizes a and can make someone use defensiveness. When a person feels attacked, they will be more combative. if
Part of neutralizing the with someone means that you are solving an not fixing a person. This can lead to .
In a friendship, may sound like this:
Scenario When A Person Is The You said that you would spend time with me on my birthday! Since you aren’t coming to my party, I feel like I don’t have any friends showing up for me now! :
Scenario When An I want to spend time with you. I know there is a Is the : with the date of my birthday party. What other day works so that we can spend time with one another?
In this scenario, spending time with one another is the . Events like birthdays can supercharge a situation, leading to issues within a too. This is a good moment to pause.
By coming up with solutions to solve the , you can grow your . You can’t change a person to be less busy; you can identify ways to spend time with them.
As much as you want to be heard in a situation, remember that the other person is seeking the same thing. You may want to take a deep breath before you approach a difficult .
Sometimes, it can feel like the stakes are high. You may not want to lose a person, place, or thing.
You are not wrong for getting invested in intimate relationships that require vulnerability. This is one of the greatest joys. However, you can help yourself by listening to your own needs and the desires of others too.
When someone is speaking to you, a strategy to use for listening is paraphrasing. Once someone is finished speaking, you can re-tell what they said in your own words. This helps you to avoid listening only so that you can speak again.
Paraphrasing can also slow down a hard . so that rash decisions aren’t made by either party. Paraphrasing not only helps with perspective but also with being heard and seen during
5. Seek Understanding, Not Agreement.
You don’t have to resolve a can be used. with agreement. You can solve a with understanding. Whether you are in a , inside your home, or out in public;
This may mean that you rather than explicitly agree on a . When both people have been heard, you can know that you are doing your best and the other person is doing their best. Hearing every can lead to and ease in a .
If the same arguments resurface in your relationships, use that as a signal that the likely has to do with a belief about yourself. During those moments, you can lovingly tend to yourself to develop a new . You can let the other person know that you played out one of your patterns again, and that you are continuing to make changes.
This will help to improve and demonstrate when an surfaces. With an apology and amendment of action, you can move forward. You won’t solve every right away.
There may be issues that continue to happen in your life but allowing space for resolution is a healthy approach to .
You don’t have to agree to understand, and you don’t have to understand to love. A willingness to try with an open heart and mind each time you have a with a person can make a world of difference.
can help. is not easy, but it is inevitable. There will be many people who have a than you, which is why
When you select helpful tools to resolve your problems, you become more and more adept at solving issues each time. You will not do this perfectly, and hearing people can help immensely.
When your ability to solve conflicts improves, you will begin to understand what works for you and your relationships. You can also identify what doesn’t .
is part of , and building skills can take a lifetime. There is room for applying what you like and leaving the rest.
If you are struggling with addressing conflict in a healthy way and want to learn more, our therapists can help. We can help you explore unhelpful patterns and stories that keep you stuck in conflict avoidant or unhealthy conflict behaviors. If you want to improve your relationships and learn to stand up for yourself and work together with others, we can help.
Written by: Randi Thackeray, MA
Clinically Reviewed and Edited by: Julie Reichenberger, MA, LPC, ACS, ACC
Denver Metro Counseling is a group of clinicians who provide therapeutic support in Denver, Colorado for teens, adults, parents, and families. We provide supportive therapy online and in-person for teens and adults helping them learn to manage life obstacles and create a path toward a rich, meaningful life.
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