Tips for Dealing With Conflict
Conflict resolution is discussion in which mutually satisfactory goals are reached. It may include negotiation, mediation and compromise. We put hours of planning into a vacation, take a whole day to clean out the closet, but how much time are we willing to put into conflict resolution with our life partner? It may well be worth the time, as conflict resolution skills build stronger and more productive relationships. Try to see conflict as an opportunity to improve your relationship and to find a deeper, more secure connection with each other.
Tips and Skills
- Face the problem! It’s not going to go away because you don’t talk about it, it will only get worse.
- Share the responsibility of resolving your conflict. Don’t always leave it up to your partner to bring up hard issues and solve them.
- Stick to the issue at hand. Don’t try to bring in past issues just to strengthen your argument.
- Be open about your feelings and encourage your partner to do the same. Nobody should be left trying to mind-read.
- Use “I” messages, like “I would like”, “I feel..”, instead of “you” messages, like “You should have..”, “You are..”. “I” statements help the other person listen, instead of responding defensively.
Take action! If you’ve talked through an issue of conflict and have come to a solution, make it happen. You don’t want to end up back where you started.
If you are struggling with resolving conflicts in your relationship you may want to seek outside resources. You may need a friend or family member to act as a mediator, or you may want to seek counseling to strengthen your skills.
Print out the Help Plan, then identify some people you can rely on to help you through any difficulties you may be experiencing.