When I was a child, I would leave the room when my parents would have the smallest of arguments. When I’d have a fight with my sister, I’d stay far away from her till my mother forced us to reconcile. When my bench partner repeatedly borrowed my eraser without asking, I politely asked my class teacher to switch my seat and that was the last I saw of him.
For those of you who haven’t guessed by now, I was quite the hater of conflict. To the 7 year old me, it was simple. A relationship with conflict was not a relationship worth having, and that’s that.
Well, lucky for me, I grew up.
I think it’s safe to say that in all close relationships, conflict is inevitable. It’s right up there on the list with love and understanding and caring, be it a romantic relationship, or a friendship. It’s something that has to be accepted, dealt with and resolved to move forward in any relationship.
Here are some tips to help you resolve conflicts in a healthy manner:
Acceptance – Accept that the other person sees the situation in a different manner, and have their own views on situations. Neither they nor you are perfect. Don’t be afraid to apologize when you’re in the wrong.
Communication – It’s the first rule in the book. First converse with yourself and identify the source of conflict. Only once you have realized what the problem is and how to solve it will you be able to get it across to another person.
Don’t Yell – When addressing the problem at hand, remember to stay calm and not yell. Shouting, and even raised voices tends to put both parties on their defensive and could lead to worsening of the situation. So if it comes to a point where emotions run high, force yourself to take a break.
Attack the Issue – Address the issue and specific behaviors of the individual rather than their characteristics. Identify certain behaviors that you don’t like rather than label their personality, or assign them negative personality traits. Try to tackle these problematic behaviors together.
Learn to Listen – If you have something to say, chances are, so does the other person. If you’re willing to dish it out, also be willing to accept that someone else may have an issue with certain things you’ve done.
Gain Perspective – Try to not sweat the small stuff, keep in mind that trivial matters don’t affect the big picture. But also remember that if you see small issues becoming bigger, it’s best to address them before they explode.
Seek counselling – If you feel like your discussions are going in circles, or if either one of you seem to be getting stubborn and unwilling to move beyond; consider seeking professional help from a relationship counsellor.