If you’re like me, you’ve probably cringed for the most part when you heard this phrase. Or maybe, you just checked out.
Conflict resolution is one of the things I’ve been learning about lately. No, I have not been taking any classes or seeing any counselors – though, I have at least once considered these options.
When a person says to you, “let’s talk,” you get the idea that they really do want to have a dialogue in order to resolve an underlying issue. However, and again, if you’re like me, you have probably cringed rather than feeling relieved just by the thought of it. But things do not always have to be so.
A discussion is, at least I believe, meant to be a two-way thing. The issue at hand having been stated, one party elaborates on their concerns while the other listens, and they take turns speaking and listening. For all the talk about how technology adversely affects communication among people, I think this is actually one area in which technology greatly helps. For example, it is impossible to yell over another person while you are both texting back and forth – even if you are having a fight. The wait time between receiving and sending messages somehow helps to downplay the tension, since the parties involved can actually ‘see’ how and where the discussion is going. One’s reaction to what another has said then depends on how they choose to respond and to what extent they want to escalate or downplay the issue. Compare this scenario to a two-minute phone call where the parties yell over each other with neither one having heard, and much less understood, what the other has said. If you have witnessed a phone fight, you know what I mean.
I have had my share of conflicts. Suffice it to say that after not being able to express myself for quite some time, I sort of became a ‘drama queen’ in 2012. I use the term loosely, being a person who does not speak much unless within my circle of friends. I have blown my top a couple of times though. Recognizing the problem and using online resources in a bid to change did not make it any easier for me to get through conflict. And while some people know me as an easy-going person, some others likely do not have the same fond thoughts of me.
Witnessing a conversation about an issue earlier today helped me gain a clearer perspective:
It’s not about pressing ideas. A discussion should be just that, a discussion, giving room for the other party to disagree, or to agree only in part. They do not necessarily have to be accepting of [all] your thoughts. We gain some and we lose some.
photo credit: Nonformality.org