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9 Surefire Ways to Can Conflict Before Everything Hits the Fan

9 Surefire Ways to Can Conflict Before Everything Hits the Fan

You know the drill: you and your mate have a disagreement, you get triggered, and before you know it you’re in a full-blown battle.  Your heart’s pounding, words are flying, you’re trying to defend yourself and you feel totally misunderstood by the person you love.

conflict cannot survive without your participation

    It really shouldn’t be this way. The question is, how do you work through and resolve an issue before everything hits the fan? It’s really pretty easy if you learn to watch your triggers, slow things down, and remember you love the person you’re having a conflict with.

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    Here are some first steps to make it happen:

    #1 Know your triggers

    Everything is easy to control on the front end—that’s why you have to pay attention to your triggers. Triggers are what set you off and cause things to quickly spin out of control. Before you come back with a less than Christ-like response to your loved one during an argument, you’ll want to pay attention to your tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. 

    #2 Take a deep breath

    Deep breathing has a calming effect on the central nervous system. Men are especially prone to being flooded by strong emotions during an argument, so taking a few deep-relaxing breaths during a conflict can help calm things down.

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    #3 Slow it down

    When emotions are hot we often say things we don’t mean, which is why it’s important to slow things down during conflict. Taking a time-out is a great way to collect your thoughts and re-engage later when you have a better perspective on things. Don’t be afraid to ask your spouse for a time out, but agree together when you will come back and revisit the issue, as just walking away can send the message that you don’t care.

    #4 Be willing to listen

    Most of us suck at listening. We think we’re doing a great job, but in reality we’re so busy trying to frame our own argument that we fail to really listen to the other person’s heart. Listening means looking at the other person and hearing their concerns, and not interrupting until that person is finished talking. It also means reflecting back what that person has said to make sure that they have been completely understood. After that, it’s your turn to talk.

    #5 Practice empathy

    Take the time to cultivate love, empathy, sympathy and compassion toward others, as these virtues will help you understand your mate better. If you can put yourself in another person’s shoes when conflict arises, it will help you listen better and reach a compromise quicker.

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    #6 Surrender your rights

    When we’re in conflict with another person, we hold tightly to our rights to be understood. We also want to win the argument and drive our point home. Be willing to surrender your right to be understood and be willing to walk in humility: doing so can change the entire course of the disagreement.

    #7 Memorize this

    Here are nine power-packed words that will help can conflict; commit them to memory. “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.Use them generously.

    Make a repair attempt

    When emotions are heated, the last thing we want to do is move toward our mate, but that’s exactly what we need to do. A repair attempt is something we do to re-connect. Remember to use “I” statements to talk to your partner, rather than “you” statements: instead of saying “you hurt me when…” for example, switch it to “I feel hurt when you…but I want to resolve this together because I love you”. This deflects any blame from them, and encourages their empathy towards you.

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    Don’t play the blame game

    Most of us are quick to drag past offenses into the present situation; don’t do it. Stick to the issue at hand. Blaming your mate won’t get you anywhere and will only serve to ramp up the other person’s defenses. Instead, try practicing humility, which will turn things around quickly.

    Conflict is unavoidable in life, and can actually be beneficial if you approach it with the right attitude because it gives you a chance to get a window into your partner’s soul. It can also open the door to personal growth and maturity if you’re willing to implement the strategies mentioned above.

    Remember, at the end of the day it’s not always about being right, it’s about being attuned to the person you love.

    Back at you: How do you find yourself handling conflict? What has worked and what hasn’t?

     

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    Rita Schulte LPC

    Licensed Professional Counselor

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    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

    Example 1

    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

    Example 2

    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

    Example 3

    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

    Example 4

    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

    • Understand your own communication style
    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
    • Communicate with precision and care
    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

    1. Understand Your Communication Style

    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

    3. Exercise Precision and Care

    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

    The Bottom Line

    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

    Reference

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