Conflict. Confrontation.Disagreement.Dissension. Dispute. Clash. Collide.
Is your stomach roiling and your blood pressure rising at the thought? Perhaps you’re struggling with conflict right now?
For the most part of my life I’ve done a pretty good job at avoiding conflict. I thought I was an expert of “ain’t nobody got time for that” conflict stuff and that it was really just unnecessary. Other than the fact that my kids seemed to have conflict engagement on a daily basis, I was blissfully unaware that even though I taught them how to work through their problems, I wasn’t doing that myself.
What I learned from conflict avoidance:
- Loss of friendship. Sometimes for awhile. Sometimes forever
- Creates a rift between family members.
- Carry hurt over into future relationships and in the day to day.
- Makes for really awkward PTA meetings and events.
I’ve dealt with every single one of the above and its always bothered me. After a friend took the time to sit with me, discuss the pain and deal with the awkwardness of the conflict and it was hard. The grace extended and the mutual respect for each other made it easier to get through and we both left that day able to hug and, shocker, still talk to this day with zero awkwardness.
Here’s my own advice I give my kids in the middle of conflict, that works for adults as well.
Listen! : If all you do is talk you risk not hearing the other person properly.
Talk it out: Let both sides have equal time to talk and explain. Use listening skills from above and be open
Meet face to face-don’t text, don’t email!: You can use all the emoji’s and still the other person can think you were being rude, so just take the plunge and have a face to face. Go for coffee or ice cream and make it worth your time!
Take a step back: Sometimes you have to walk away and take a breath. If you’re like me you end up in tears and emotions take over, which is never the time to reach an agreement or understanding.
Give grace: Just understand that even in the midst of conflict there will be times you’ll have to agree to disagree or even part ways.
Sometimes there’s just no getting anywhere and you have to part ways. That doesn’t mean you can’t leave amicably and I absolutely love the saying, “Leave people better than you found them”. I’m teaching my children this as well, even though its not easy as an adult. Ellen tells us every day at the end of her show, ” Be kind to one another” and that includes, even if you don’t want to, or don’t like someone, kindness costs zero dollars, so just do it.