The A Word: How to resolve conflict without reading a book

It’s been a long time since I started my blog with a moan, and I don’t want to disappoint, so here we go.  I’ve had a flare-up of my AS and it’s been a bad one.  I felt so fit when we returned from our walking holiday, but as is normal, when I’m feeling good, my body has different ideas and decides to launch its attack. The pain is significantly more intense and debilitating during a flare-up than the normal daily pain you learn to live with.  My biggest two worries are how many pills I must take to manage the pain and how much damage it’s doing to my spine. My body came with many terms and conditions I didn’t sign up for, and having an immune system that attacks itself is not the superpower I dreamed of.

Anyway, enough of my whingeing and onto my main subject this month, conflict. 

Do you like conflict, or are you like me and shy away from it? There are so many books on this subject, all of which I can never be bothered to read.  So, if that’s you too, here’s the 2-minute version to help you manage difficult situations.

When researching this blog, I started looking more closely at conflict, and it’s everywhere. Conflict with friends, family members, co-workers, and even strangers on Twitter! Conflicts arise naturally when we interact. The problem occurs when people associate conflict with anger and hurt feelings, but it doesn’t have to be this way.  My blog is about healthy ways to handle conflict. It’s a great skill to learn, and you’ll likely have many opportunities to practice it during your lifetime.

After involvement in a conflict, it unsettles us, and our natural reaction is to plot our revenge. I’ve certainly spent time planning my revenge on a work colleague who stitched me up or spoke to me in a way I didn’t like.  Naturally, we get angry, but did we listen to the other person or refuse to compromise? Perhaps we shut down and walked out with the infamous door slam, avoiding confrontation altogether.

These are all natural reactions, and what I’m going to say now is not easy to put into practice but give it a try.  The next time you argue, think first, speak later. Silence is incredibly powerful and gives you time to plan your approach to seeking a resolution.

  • Assess the situation.
  • Think about the problem and if you’ve contributed to it. A conflict is rarely one person’s fault, even though we think it is.
  • Figure out what you want and how to say it.
  • I know it’s appealing but don’t blame the other person. Instead, tell them what’s not working for you and take responsibility for your part in the conflict. 
  • Listen carefully to what is being said; if you don’t understand, ask clarifying questions.
  • Use your nice voice rather than the angry one 😊
  • And finally, here’s the hard bit! While fighting for your point of view might be tempting, conflict is not about winning or losing. It’s about mutual understanding or mutual respect if you can’t reach that point.  

There have been occasions in my working life when I haven’t been able to resolve a situation. In this instance, it’s also OK to say, “Let’s agree to disagree for the time being”. You can always revisit the conversation after taking time out to reflect.  And finally, if it all goes wrong, you could try and add a bit of humour and say I’ll agree with you, but then we’d both be wrong”. 

Oh, how I love irony 😊.

On that note, until next time, xxx

Published by meadandrea

Blogger, writer, author, love to travel, photographer

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