Simple Techniques To Resolve Any Conflict
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Simple Techniques To Resolve Any Conflict

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Simple Techniques To Resolve Any Conflict

This past semester I believe I have taken the most important college course I will ever take: Conflict and Communication. No matter what your career goal or life path is, conflict is something that every single person has to deal with, and it is not black and white.

But there are some very simple techniques to keep in mind that can make handling conflict ten times easier. After reading about these techniques your eyes will be opened to effective and efficient conflict resolution, and you will wonder why no one has told you these things before.

Consider Perspectives

In any conflict, it is easy to think you are right and the other person is wrong. I am sorry to burst your bubble, but that simply isn't true.

If you put yourself in the other person's shoes you will see that they are also thinking the same thing. Shutting out the other person's point of view is where most people go wrong when trying to resolve a conflict.

This is arguably the most important thing to know in any conflict situation, so read closely. You can not convince someone of the merits of your stance without understanding where they are coming from.

Once you consider their side of the same conflict, you can begin to consider the best ways to go about resolving that conflict. Always keep this in mind.

Separate Impact from Intention

Have you ever said something to someone and they took it the wrong way? Has someone ever confronted you about hurting their feelings, and you have no idea how?

You never intended to hurt them, but that is how your words or actions impacted them. Know the difference between these two things.

Understand that oftentimes the impact of someone's actions was not their intention. And also acknowledge that no matter what you intended, the impact that it had on the other person still matters, and it's important to make that known.

Don't just say, "Sorry, that's not what I meant." Instead, try acknowledging how they feel, explaining your intentions, and keeping their perspective in mind.

Focus on Contributions NOT Blame

I promise you, blaming will get you absolutely nowhere, ever. When you feel like a victim, it is hard to see how you could have contributed to the situation at all, but it is important to really try and think about how you might have. (This usually does not apply to victims of physical violence.)

Understanding and making your own contributions known is a great way to get the other person to consider how they may have contributed as well. Don't just take the fall for whatever the conflict is. Make sure it is clear that you are trying to get a full picture of what happened, including your own potential missteps.

Do not use this system to figure out who to blame either; even if one has more contributions than the other, blame should not be considered in conflict.

Feelings are Okay

It is unrealistic to try to resolve a conflict without considering the feelings involved. But feelings are often more complex than what we usually consider.

Firstly, understand that your feelings are your own and not given to you by other people. Your sister did not make you mad; she did or said something that caused you to feel upset; figure out why this is.

Secondly, you probably feel more than just one thing, and you need to fully understand the range of your emotions before claiming how you feel. Maybe someone's actions make you mad, but you're also sad for them, and you only feel these things because you feel love for them as well.

It is difficult to express how you feel when you don't allow yourself to consider the full range of your emotions.

Your Identity is not All or Nothing

Just because you hurt someone's feelings does not mean you are a bad person. Oftentimes when our morality or identity is challenged through conflict, we can shut down to avoid feeling like we are all around bad people.

Be secure in your own identity and understand what triggers might challenge it.

You can hurt your friend's feelings and still be a good friend. As long as you understand that your identity is not all good or all bad, you can begin to accept the difficult contributions that come with conflict, and then you begin to effectively resolve them as well.

These few techniques to keep in mind are just the tip of the conflict resolution iceberg.

If you are interested in learning how to more easily maneuver any difficult conflict, I would recommend reading the book Difficult Conversations by Stone, Patton, and Heen. You would be surprised how much you didn't know about conflicts and how to resolve them.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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