Alternative to Leaving

It seems to be very commonly thought, especially by youth, that if someone crosses them, all contact with that person is to be severed immediately. While I understand that this impulse comes from a place of self-preservation and not wanting to get hurt, it is one that cannot sustain a meaningful long-lasting relationship. It might be upsetting for some people to know, but there are absolutely no two people in the world who will agree with each other on every thought, word, and action. This includes opinions even on sensitive and fundamental topics such as religion, decisions/mistakes, and any other facet that makes up the way a person lives their life. People are not taught how to go about problem solving within relationships. Many times we don’t want to try because it can be very uncomfortable to willingly be vulnerable with another person, whether they are a parent, friend, or significant other. 

The key to solving conflict in relationships is not cutting off all communication—it is to establish boundaries from the beginning. Prevention is a lot easier than fixing the issue after it has already happened. Boundaries may seem difficult to put in place, and especially to keep in place, but all it takes is communication. For example, if you have a friend who gets reckless when they drink and as a result gets you in trouble, a boundary would be to say something as simple as “I love you but I don’t feel comfortable going out with you to the club. Maybe we can go to the movies instead.” If a boundary is crossed, a conversation can take place where you clearly and in a sensitive manner explain why you are hurt and then listen to understand as the other person explains their own thoughts and emotions. 

One thing I have learned is that a lot of hurt occurs in relationships mostly due to misunderstandings and opposing perceptions of a situation that a conversation can easily fix. I’ve also learned that, for the most part, people hurt each other because they have not been shown and given love effortlessly and abundantly and so they don’t know how to do the same for others. It’s difficult to get to a destination if you don’t know the necessary steps. There are exceptions to this rule as well, such as someone threatening your well-being. In that case it is absolutely necessary to remove yourself. As a foundation, however, this basic principle will get you far.