I Hate Conflict

“Maria” was a people pleaser. She wanted everyone to think highly of her and like her.

Problem was, she had an older sister who was doing something she didn’t agree with.

Her husband had the perfect solution: “Ring her up and tell her how you feel”.

“I can’t do that. What am I going to say?”

“Just tell her that you are not happy with what she is doing.”

“She won’t be happy.”

“So? She’ll get over it.”

Maria never confronted her sister. When a friend asked ‘why’, she said “I hate conflict.”

Most people fall into this category. They’ll do anything to avoid it.

Jane, how do you handle conflict?

While most will avoid it, some will attack it head on and enjoy the battle. They enjoy stirring someone up and making them accountable. Others will simply deal with it.

A Better Way?

Is there a better way of dealing with conflict rather than confronting the person?

Yes, there is.

You can avoid conflict.

First, conflict means there is a disagreement with confrontation.

This means one has to be right and the other has to be wrong.

Conflict often involves arguments – which can sometimes become heated with friendships falling apart.

As no-one wants this, it’s easier to avoid the conflict.

The downside is, the problem gets worse.

You can then become mentally and physically sick with worry and anger.

With conflict, no-one wins.

Second, see the importance of dealing with conflict. You are better to deal with it than not to deal with it.

Third, attack it from a different angle.

Statements open you up for conflict. Let’s pick a topical example. You say “The Government produced a great budget”. Someone can respond with “No, it’s terrible. They don’t care about anyone except themselves. You’re a moron if you think it’s good.”

Hmm. What do you say next?

Asking questions opens people up to possibilities. “What do you think of the budget?” lets them offer their opinion without you making a statement.

“It’s terrible.”

“Why?”

“It is going to mean financial hardship for so many people.”

“Do you think the deficit should be reigned in?”

“Yes. They could have done it a better way.”

If they ask what you think, you can always say “There are two sides to it. I agree with … (this) … however, they are being too hard … (here).”

Back to “Maria”. Imagine Maria’s sister wanted to do something Maria didn’t want her to do.

Accusing or blaming would lead to arguments and conflict.

Again ask questions.

Maria’s aim is to get her sister to see things from her perspective. She asks questions to get her sister to discover another way.

“Could (this idea) work?”

“If (this) happened, what would be the consequence?”

Telling my mother (who is 93 years od age) she needed bigger wheels on her walker met with deaf ears.

“If the wheels were twice the size, do you think they would go over the cracks in pathways much easier?”

“Yes”.

“As you have had two bad accidents with the old wheels (because they are smaller and get caught in the cracks), do you think you will feel much safer with the walker with the large wheels?”

“Yes”.

If she were to say “No”, I would ask some more questions. If I still received a “No”, I would ask “If you were to have another accident, would you then be prepared to look at the larger wheeled walker?”

You can get your point of view across without conflict.

Good luck!

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