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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?

     

    More by this author

    Rita Schulte LPC

    Licensed Professional Counselor

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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