Conflicts happen to the best of us all the time and everywhere. How we respond to them is a true testament of our character. It’s easy to emotionally react, but a thoughtful and considerate response will yield much better results. Below is a list of steps to take into consideration when confronted with a conflict. Although written with a teenage audience in mind, these steps are applicable at any age.
Step 1: Face the problem
Pretending it’s not there won’t help the conflict go away. Bottling up your emotions will cause more harm when you eventually burst.
Step 2: Communicate directly
Don’t send another friend to do your dirty work. You need to speak face-to-face with the person you have a conflict with—no texts, and NO social media!
Step 3: See the other perspective
Before getting defensive and arguing, try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see how they view the conflict.
Step 4: Be respectful and listen
Allow the other person to talk and actively listen to them when they are talking instead of just thinking about how you are going to respond.
Step 5: Stop and breathe
Before reacting emotionally to the other person, take a second to take a deep breath and think about how to respond appropriately.
Step 6: Be assertive
Assertiveness involves speaking calmly and confidently. It is thoughtful. It is not passive, aggressive or passive-aggressive.
Step 7: Use “I” statements
If you start a sentence with “you” the other person will immediately feel criticized and get defensive. Starting with “I” keeps the conversation open. Ex. “I felt upset when _______.”
Step 8: Learn to negotiate
Give a little, take a little. Try to come to a resolution that you both can live with. This includes the option of “agreeing to disagree.”
Step 9: Remain in the present
Don’t drag in old issues that have already been resolved. Leave the past in the past. This will only add fuel to the fire and will not get you very far.
Step 10: Learn to say you’re sorry
Mature, well-respected people are able to apologize and admit their mistakes. We all make them but those that can own them will go much further in life.
Let me know if you have any questions about these steps or how to exactly implement them in your specific situation. I’d love to help!