Misunderstandings and disagreements are inevitable and conflict healthy. Remember, the only thing over which you truly have control is you. Here are 10 tips you can use to resolve your disagreements, lower your blood pressure and nourish your spirit.
When disputes arise with people you care about, the first step toward resolution is to realize that there is no one right way - that a number of solutions are possible. Try to find a solution that will bring the greatest sense of satisfaction to the largest number of people involved.
Be Proactive And Focused. Stay on the subject. Don't digress to side issues, or trade extraneous accusations. Don't attack other people's friends, clothes, grades in school, snoring, or anything not pertinent to the question at hand.
Avoid Absolute Words And Phrases like "never," "always," or "every single time."
Depersonalize the Conflict. Avoid hot buttons and phrases deliberately designed to wound or intimidate. Everyone knows everyone else's weak points. That's why they are the weak points, after all. Don't feel you have to prove the other person wrong in order to reach a satisfactory conclusion to the problem. Emotion always clouds reason. Listen and be supportive, but wait until the storm is over before sticking your oar in.
Be Slow To Anger-Especially Over Petty Issues. Don't allow mean spirited remarks to stick in your mind. Let any insults directed at you fly right by. Nobody really means what they say during arguments, but not everyone is able to keep from saying it. The main thing is not to make the mistake of feeling that you have to meet force with force.
Be Prepared To Give Some Ground. The goal of the relationship is to perpetuate the relationship, and the goal of a debate is to bring it to a mutually satisfactory end. Recognize that you won't get everything you want. Prioritize what you hope to gain. Make a determination of what you can live with.
Don't Concede Anything That Is Absolutely Essential To You. Have a bottom line beyond which you cannot be moved, especially when the subject of the dispute nudges your value system. If you give in beyond this point, you will feel residual anger and bitterness. That kind of frustration will only lead to another debate.
Periodically Restate What It Is You're Negotiating. The issues can get lost in the welter of argument. It's amazing how often a dispute about household chores can turn into a discussion of deep issues in the combatants' personalities. Make sure everyone has a clear idea of what they're saying and what they're prepared to do.
If You Find That You Are In The Wrong, Admit It. Also, admit one of your own poor decisions before pointing out a similar error by others. It's the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. If they aren't feeling blamed others are more willing to listen. Mend fences whenever possible.
Resist The Temptation To Bring Up The Past. Everything we say is a function of the mindset we were in when we said it, and the unique factors that were in play at that moment. Taking phrases out of context and throwing them in another's face is unfair and only adds fuel to the fire. Avoid putting people on the witness stand, and don't let them do it to you.
Keep An Open, Positive Mind. Be willing to learn something. Be open to new ideas. Be willing to grow. Nod your head when you hear something you agree with, even if you're still a little angry. See the positive result that might come from this incident.
Remember: When You're Dealing With People You Care About, There's No Such Thing As Winning An Argument only Losing the Relationship.