Resolving conflict where both parties end happily can be challenging but not impossible. There are many tools you can use to help you resolve conflict. Using the acronym, CARE, can help you get there. The four ways to resolve conflict meaningfully include communicating, actively listening, reviewing all options, and ending with a win-win solution. Can you think of any other ways to help you resolve conflict? Let us know in the comments of this blog.
Good communication is an important part of all relationships. No matter how well you know your partner, friend, or coworker, you can’t read their mind. Ask them how they feel and let them know how you feel. Expressing how you feel about the situation and sticking to the facts of the problem at hand will let the other person know you’re genuine in your actions. Communicating clearly can also help minimize the damage beforehand. We need to communicate clearly to avoid misunderstandings that may cause hurt, anger, resentment or confusion. If you want your message to be received and understood and vice versa, be clear with what you’re going to say and double check your understanding of what your partner is saying. Some ways to help include setting aside time to talk without interruption from other people, talking about what is happening and how it affects you, accepting responsibility for your own feelings, sharing positive feelings with your partner, and being aware of your tone of voice.
Listening is also an important part of good communication. A good listener can encourage their partner to talk openly and honestly. When you’re actively listening, be sure to be objective, ask open-ended questions, and try not to interrupt. Some other tips for actively listening include facing the speaker and maintaining eye contact, watching for non-verbal cues, listening without judgment, and focusing on what the speaker is saying rather than what you’re going to say next. Remember that habits are hard to break, so you’ll have to make a conscious effort to be an active listener. It’s worth it though, because it will help you manage your conflict more effectively.
Review your Options
Think about and talk through remaining options with the other person. This is a good time for brainstorming; you don’t need to feel pressured to come up with one answer immediately. One helpful tool during this step is to bring in third parties if necessary. Try to find a third party that is objective to the situation, so that it is fair to both parties involved. Also, talk using the future and present tense, not the past tense. When thinking through your options, consider them from the other party’s point of view. Ask yourself, what do they want out of this? What do they need?
End with a Win-Win Situation
Ending with a win-win situation is the ultimate goal, after all. In order to manage conflict in a meaningful way, compromises will most likely have to be made. When discussing compromises, let go of the idea of having to be “right.” Instead of loudly trying to convince them of your opinion, try to consider whether there are multiple “right” or “good” outcomes to be reached. Then find some common ground, something you can both agree with, even if it’s not the main topic of conversation. When compromising, choose your battles. In a relationship, not everything can go your way, so choose the things that are most important to you and focus on the middle ground that you and the other party found. You’ve got this!
Life Balance Therapy
If you need help managing conflict, Life Balance Therapy might be a good place to start. At Life Balance Therapy, we offer professional online therapy solutions and in-person therapy in San Antonio for relationship counseling, family and parent therapy, life coaching and more. To get started, you can learn more here.