Using Conflict to Build Closer R-ships

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Using Conflict to Build Closer R-ships
Thu, 01-22-2009 - 1:47am

Using Conflict to Build Closer Relationships

Our best intentions often desert us when we encounter conflict with partners, friends, co-workers or family, the people we most want to feel close with. The following suggestions will help people experience conflict with less suffering and more satisfying outcomes.

  • Remain focused on your goal of maintaining the relationship.

  • Keep in mind you are trying to solve a problem and stay connected. Never attack, no matter how justified, if you want a continued relationship. The fleeting, smug satisfaction of a zinger where you know it will hurt, is never worth the fallout your comments will create. Tell yourself, “I’d rather be happy than ‘right’.”

  • Listen, completely, curiously and thoughtfully.

  • Search for what might be right about what you hear, instead of justifying your own position, and let the other person know you are making this effort. Remember that “Yes, but…”distracts your listener from hearing anything you are going to say next.

  • Express strong emotion effectively.

  • Careful, respectful expression of the understandable and very human frustration, hurt, anger, sadness you experience in conflict situations does help resolve, rather than escalate, the conflict. Avoid “stuffing” your emotions; naming them in a non-destructive manner can be very powerful and productive. Paradoxically, this form of revealing yourself, even as it illuminates the difference the two of you are experiencing, is the key to building greater emotional trust and closeness.

  • Speak with the most skillful honesty possible.

  • Work to articulate your own needs clearly. Often conflict becomes entrenched because someone is hesitant about saying exactly what it is they want, think or feel. Instead of blaming or avoiding, be bold and step forward.

  • Summarize, and check what you hear.

  • Ask about points that need clarification. Make a deliberate effort to raise questions that express genuine curiosity. No small trick when so much of your mind is occupied with propping up your end of the argument!

  • When you feel anger building, step back for damage control.

  • Making the other person wrong reduces the chance that you will ever make anything right. Attacks force you into opposition. Take breaks as needed to avoid going downhill!

  • Strive for a real exchange of ideas.

  • No productive resolution comes from one-sided conversations. Use your competitive juices to see who can take the high road the longest and be most fair-minded.

    ***Author and website this article came from is unknown. This was not written by the person posting it.***

    Edited 1/27/2009 11:59 pm ET by cl-2nd_life

    "Ignoring the facts
    does not change the facts"
    iVillage Member
    Registered: 11-29-2006
    Wed, 06-10-2009 - 1:08pm