Home | Conflict Resolution Strategies : Don’t Get Sucked into an Argument
Conflict Resolution Strategies : Don’t Get Sucked into an Argument
Arguments are stressful but happen. Learning conflict resolution strategies is important to turning verbal conflict into productive communication.
In theory, every single argument in life can be completely avoided. You do not need to get sucked in. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone. In fact, you’d be better of not trying to win most arguments.
If I’d lived my life according to this theory, I’d consider myself something special. But, I’ve been sucked into so many arguments that I’ll never remember them all.
Lately, however, I’ve had some wonderful successes avoiding arguments and resolving interpersonal issues. I’m here to tell you that it’s worth it! And here are some tips to put more argument avoidance successes under your belt. (That is, if you actually don’t want to get into arguments.)
Make conflict resolution strategies your conscious goal (here’s how)
The number one reason why people get drawn into arguments (in my opinion) is that we do not have any other intention. Without the intention to resolve problems peaceably, you’re in self-sabotage territory.
As you may or may not know from the AHA Solution, or Your Achilles Eel (yes, “eel”), self-sabotage is part of human nature. It’s something that we often naturally seek, if we don’t consciously intend otherwise.
So there you are minding your own business. Your husband, wife, partner, child, friend, neighbor or associate suddenly shows up. They don’t have good news. They have news that reflects poorly on you.
You feel the heat. You feel your defenses rising. And you go off. Quickly, you’re embroiled in an argument that will not end well. In fact, your argument probably proves their case against you.
Start with an intention – a goal – to settle every conflict peacefully today. You can do it. Stay calm. Let people have their say. Correct misconceptions. Allow people to hear a cool, calm and mature version of yourself.
There are two basic principles when in a conflict:
1. Seek information when you perceive attack.
Keeping seeking information from a place of curiosity and openness until the attacker begins to feel like you really want to know what is going on for him. Most attackers will quickly calm down the instant they begin to feel understood. It is tempting to either attack back or abandon when we perceive that we are being attacked. This will not address the underlying need of the attacker, which is to feel understood.
2. Give information when you perceive abandonment.
This will allow the one who is abandoning to feel like you care, that you are invested in the relationship. It is tempting here, upon noticing that the other is not talking to us, to simply ask more questions…to seek more information, as if we can pry out of them what they are not willing to communicate. This rarely works because the abandoner has already decided to withhold information from us. Giving information about ourselves that shows we are invested in the relationship addresses the underlying need for the abandoner to feel our care or interest.
It is often hard to keep going towards your goal of avoiding conflict and turning it into productive communication, especially when you are feeling attacked or have something to prove. However, if you can keep the goal of solving problems you can plow through the tough moments.
For more details regarding conflict resolution strategies, check out our personal development program, Cooling the Fire. This program teaches you how to turn any verbal conflict into a productive conversation within minutes (often seconds) and help any verbal attacker feel genuinely understood and calm quickly.
Most of us attempt to resolve conflicts with other people in a perfectly unproductive way. We tend to do the exact opposite of what works! Why does conflict resolution seem counter-intuitive? Maybe it's human nature or social conditioning that directs our inefficient conflict resolution strategies. Regardless of the cause, we almost universally lack a good strategy for taking the most challenging conflicts in communication and turning them quickly into productive and calm engagements. Until now. Read more...
Mike Bundrant is a retired psychotherapist, Master NLP trainer, and practicing life coach. He and his wife, Hope, founded iNLP Center in 2011. For information on coaching with Mike, please visit his coaching website AHA System.