Tips for Dealing With Confrontation
By Randi Morse
Dealing with conflict is never easy, but it's something that is simply unavoidable. It doesn't matter how amazing your spouse is, or how great your co-workers are, eventually we all wind up in some sort of conflict. There are those who thrive with conflict. They enjoy the back and forth arguing and have no problem pushing their position until they're blue in the face. Others naturally try to avoid confrontation and conflict, concerned they'll hurt the other person's feelings or will wind up feeling bad after everything is done. If you're someone who dislikes conflict, there are a few things that you can do to help diffuse a situation rapidly.
Listen to Understand
A big reason why disagreements tend to go on for so long is because people are listening to respond. This means that instead of listening to the other person to try to understand their point of view, they listen so that they can prepare a rebuttal. We need to start listening to actually hear the other person. When you do this you'll find that there is more being said than you may realize. For example, if your coworker says something like, "I always wind up doing most of the work for our projects," you shouldn't argue back. Instead, listen to what they're saying. In this case the co-worker is expressing frustration that, in their perspective, they are doing more work than you are and are feeling stressed about it.
Instead of arguing back about something, be curious. Let's continue using the previous example. Why is your co-worker feeling that they are doing more work than you are? Ask them this. Ask them, in a calm and polite manner, why they feel as though you are not contributing as much as you should be in work projects. Ask for specific examples so that you're able to see things from their point of view. When we start being curious about where the other person is coming from, we begin to open our minds to other possibilities. We take anger out of the equation and enable ourselves to be able to answer back without malice.
When you respond to anger with anger, all you get is a negative environment that is not conducive to repairing situations. Instead, try being curious about why the other person feels the way they do. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Approaching confrontation with empathy almost always ensures that the conflict will be resolved faster and to everyone's satisfaction.
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