Not many people like to find themselves in confrontational or conflict situations. Unless you’ve grown up in an environment in which you had to stand up for yourself most of the time and had to learn how to handle aggressive behavior, then it is something that you most likely try and avoid because it makes you feel uncomfortable.
Here are a few of my top tips for resolving conflict in both your personal and professional life
1. Don’t be afraid of conflict.
Too many of us become agitated when we encounter conflict or disagreement out of concern and fear. It’s odd when you think about it, because conflict is a part of nature, a part of life. Unless you are a hermit, odds are that conflict is inescapable. And so, you need to approach conflict calmly, as an expected part of dealing with others. Consider conflict a way of learning to see things more clearly.
2. Abandon the concept of winning and losing.
Unless you are on a battlefield, chances are the person you come into conflict with is not The Enemy, but instead is probably someone whose goals are generally the same as yours, or at least interrelated with yours. If you adopt a strategy of resolution rather than battle, then you will head down a calmer path.
3. Be flexible.
When the other side senses that you are interested in finding a solution, you likely will have created an ally where a potential adversary once stood. Rather than confrontation and conflict, you can work together in cooperation to find a solution that suits both sides.
4. Avoid negative or confrontational language.
Rather than “buts” and “you’re wrongs” try using positive language that disarms rather than confronts, such as “I understand your position and…” or “I can see your point and here is where I’m coming from…”
6. Talk through the situation with a neutral party.
This helps to gain perspective and clarity from a neutral party. It also assists in better understand the conflict through talking it out with someone not directly involved or who has an agenda around it.
It is always helpful to get a problem out in the open and to get input from people you trust and people who understand your point of view. This helps you better understand what you are going through and tell you, for better or worse, whether they think you have properly judged or handled the situation.
7. Redirect It.
Rather than approaching the conflict with the attitude of stopping it or overcoming it, think of redirecting the energy toward a common objective. Look for similarities in your positions rather than focusing on your differences. Although aggression is part of our nature, most successful relationships have been built on cooperation.
Common goals are great unifiers and healers. How many stories have you heard of strangers uniting together in times of emergency? When a common goal is made obvious the natural reaction is to put differences aside.
8. Find something to distract you from the conflict.
Take off on a vacation or weekend getaway, a new project, or a family outing so that you can clear your mind, reevaluate your position, and perhaps come back to it with renewed clarity, awareness and understanding of what is needed for a successful resolution.
9. It’s never okay to be bullied.
Not all conflict situations we find ourselves in will be a case of one or both parties resulting to aggressive behavior. Sometimes, conflict can be helpful in finding a new way to look at things and be a tool for positive change. The secret of course lies in focusing on the solution, not the problem.
But in those instances when you are being bullied or feel threatened in some way then you need to either walk away or give yourself some physical space between the other person and try your best to diffuse the situation using assertive language. If you’re not sure how to do that, then this is a great to look into as it will pay huge dividends in the long run.
Learning To Communicate Assertively Is The Key
These are just a few of the ways that you can handle conflict situations more effectively or even stop them form happening in the first place. It always takes two to tango so keep in mind that if you are uncomfortable with conflict then either work on becoming more assertive or don’t put yourself in these situations.
All of us deserve to be treated with respect at all times. There is never a time that is is okay for another person or people to bully you, be abusive or disrespectful to you, or make you feel like you are in physical danger. Conflict situations can very stressful on your body and add extra pressure in your life.
To avoid this, you need to work out the best way to resolve any conflict as soon as you can so you can enjoy a more peaceful and calm life once again.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of this kind of behavior and you are not sure what to do to prevent it from happening again or you are fearful of what might happen in the future, then seek professional help from a trained therapist or counselor. I’d also recommend starting a self-defense class as this will help you feel more confident and in control over time.