Conflict is an intrusive part of life. The tension it creates can melt your happiness. It can make you cry in emotional defeat.
The sheer power of one seemingly tiny argument is maddening. It can turn a stable person into an enraged alcoholic; force a person into someone entirely new.
Sadly, conflict doesn’t always have a clear solution. Not all arguments can be solved with a quick and easy compromise. The various perspectives involved may never leave the conflict truly content. They might never feel their voice was heard. Perhaps they may feel nothing was done to solve the issue.
You’ve been there. We all have. It’s inevitable.
And yes, it paints a darker picture of life than you’d care to admit.
Conflict – in all its stressful repercussions – proves how different humanity is. It shows how dissimilar we are. It illustrates how unique perspectives can alter the course of a friendship. Demonstrates how two sides of a heated argument can break up a marriage.
Still, no matter the situation, conflict can be managed.
It may be tough. You may find yourself the only willing individual to keep things calm. The only one fighting to maintain a certain perspective in order to keep the discussion somewhat peaceful.
But it’ll be worth it.
Get through conflict with these helpful tips.
1) Be the Better Person
Imagine two brothers – let’s call them Dan and Ben.
Dan is upset about a damaged video game. Convinced his brother, Ben, was the last to play said game, Dan accuses him of the damage. Ben is baffled, and with sincere anger maintains he did not ruin the game.
This argument continues for about a week. The only reason it ended is because another issue occurred worth fighting about.
But that previous argument hasn’t been solved. It’s merely been pushed aside to leave room for another conflict. And yet that argument could have been prevented.
Dan, rather than accusing his brother of damaging the game, could have asked him about the situation. When Ben maintains he had nothing to do with it, Dan could have been the better person.
He could’ve chosen a different path. Rather than letting the fight continue, Dan could have accepted Ben’s story. After all, what matters more – their bond as brothers or a $30 video game?
The game itself is replaceable. But a crumbling relationship between brothers could take years to mend.
You may find yourself wondering why bother. Why you should take on the responsibility of being the better person. But ask yourself this – do you really want to let petty conflict run your life? Do you want it to ruin a potentially lasting relationship or a solid professional endeavor?
Take the high road once in a while. Sometimes, it’s tough being the stronger person. But it’ll pay off, eventually.
2) Ignore the Unnecessary Bits
Often, arguments continue due to fillers. Words, phrases, and heated speeches unrelated to the present issue. Those involved in the conflict draw other, less pressing issues into light. Sometimes, this is done so well that the original arguing point is sidestepped. Swept under the rug amidst the pet hair and bobby pins.
For a debate this tactic might pay off. But for a real life conflict? Not so much.
So when you next find yourself cornered into a conflict – or when you start one – try sticking to the issue at hand. When fillers snatch more attention, ignore them. Or try to, at the very least. Your conflict will meet its solution more effectively with less available to prey upon.
3) Be Open-minded
The most heated conflicts rage on due to closed-minded participants. It’s a severe unwillingness to understand the other. A fierce desire to win in a conflict somehow forged into a contest. A battle that will somehow determine your fate and thus must be pursued as such.
But a conflict shouldn’t be viewed as a battle. It shouldn’t begin on the premise of war – that there will only be one victor.
View all arguments with an open-mind. Don’t let your unwarranted judgments, preconceived notions, and stubborn demeanor take hold. If you remain closed-minded in a conflict, you will not only hurt yourself – your actions will harm those around you, as well.
Don’t let society close your mind.
It’s worth it to view this world with a positive outlook. A view filled with perspective, a fierce willingness to understand, and a deep tolerance for others.
Use that idea when conflict boxes you in. The outcome just might surprise you.
4) Admit You’re Wrong When Appropriate
Mistakes don’t point to your demise. Admitting your faults doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you strong. Why? Because most folks would rather hurt someone else than admit fault.
It’s quite simple, really.
When it comes to conflict, there are only so many possible outcomes. Of those, only certain possibilities are in your favor. Why cause more tension when the odds are far from yours?
When you’re clearly at fault, don’t let your mistake slide. Letting a conflict continue because you can’t admit your faults is sad. And it makes you a much weaker person than you think.
So the next time you get into an argument at work, don’t let it continue if you know you were at fault. Even if Samuel from billing is right. Perhaps you did use the wrong paper for this week’s printouts.
Does one little mishap shape your entire career? Not in the least.
Learn to admit when you’re wrong. When it comes to conflict, knowing when you’re at fault is half the battle.
5) Find a Mediator
Certain conflicts call for a mediator. An unbiased, outside source that can provide some perspective. Someone who can – without fear of being harassed – balance an argument.
If you find yourself stuck in yet another argument with Ken from accounting, search for a mediator. If Ken is strong-willed, he may attempt to derail your search. He might put you down for trying to find some assistance.
Don’t give in.
Find someone. A desk clerk neither of you know well – let’s call her Abby. Have Abby sit in on the argument. Give her clear permission to keep both you and Ken on task. Ideally, Abby will maintain composure – especially when things get heated. It’s bound to happen. Your mediator should be able to handle the situation with care.
With her help, you and Ken might just arrive at a solid solution. A promising result that will hopefully benefit the both of you.
Deal With Conflict The Right Way
Don’t let the situation claim you. It’s tough. And yes, you will face some who look at your methods with disdain. But conflict can be dealt with. It’s merely a matter of how strong you’re willing to be; how much effort you’re willing to put forth.
Don’t let conflict get you down. Take care of your differences with these tips.
Perhaps one day, we’ll all view life with a better perspective. Maybe then conflict will no longer feel as stressful.