We live in a world that’s filled with conflict. When you’re a kid, conflict resolution is easy. All you have to do is scream loudly enough for an adult to intervene and end it. Resolving conflict as an adult gets a bit more difficult. It’s not that it’s complicated. It just takes patience and perseverance. Here are 7 surefire tips for conflict resolution:
1. Keep A Cool Head – The first thing you need to understand about conflict is that it can escalate very quickly when emotions get involved. Some people aren’t able to verbalize their thoughts and may get frustrated, which can lead to violence. Before taking on any conflict, stop and breathe for a moment. Keep calm, gather your thoughts, and make sure you keep the conflict civil.
2. Decide What Outcome You Want – Before you can resolve a conflict, you have to decide what you want to accomplish. Are you trying to change someone’s mind about a personal belief? Are you defending yourself or a loved one? What’s more important: the issue or the person? If you can’t answer these questions, then why are you involving yourself in the conflict? Maybe the best thing to do is drop it. If you feel the conflict is worth pursuing, continue reading.
3. Be Willing To Compromise – It doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong. If both parties didn’t believe they were right, there wouldn’t be a conflict in the first place. Sometimes people argue with you just for the sake of argument. Understand that you can’t win every battle. You’re going to have to give up a little in order to achieve resolution. Conflicts don’t have to have a loser. Decide what’s most important to you, swallow your pride, and give up the rest so that everyone has a chance to win.
4. Listen… Actually Listen – How can you find the middle if you don’t know where both ends are? The only way you can meet in the middle is by understanding both sides of the argument. If you’re unwilling to listen to the other person’s side, they’ll be unwilling to listen to yours. By actually listening, you’ll be able to relate to the other side. You may think you already know their side, but may not know the full story. Even if you do, it’s much easier to hold someone’s hand and walk alongside them to your side of the issue rather than telling them what they should do. If you want to lead, do it by example.
5. Avoid Personal Attacks – Never insult the other person. People tend not to agree with someone who insults them. Avoid belittling, sarcasm, sighs, and eye rolls. Think of yourself as a politician trying to win votes. Do you vote for people who insult your intelligence or attack you personally? If you want to stand a chance of converting someone to your side, they need to respect you. Respect is something that’s earned, and you don’t earn it with personal attacks.
6. Detach Yourself From The Result – No matter how well you argue your case, there’s always a chance that you won’t get the result you want. It may be necessary to cut your losses and walk away. A good way to end a conflict without either side admitting a loss is to agree to disagree. This means you’re both willing to live with the fact that you have differing opinions. It doesn’t mean that you should harbor resentment over the issue and continue pursuing it later.
7. Once It’s Over, Drop It – Just like everything else in life, it’s important not to take conflicts too seriously. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Think about it – will this conflict stop the sun from rising? Are you willing to let someone ruin your appetite? Life goes on, and there’s no point in dwelling. Once the conflict is in the past, leave it there.