At this point in our lives, it’s fair to assume that we’ve all had disagreements with others. And, let’s face it, we’ve all thought of things we could have said better after the argument. This is reasonable, as many of us are often caught off guard when someone disrespects us or tries our patience. Some people tend to shy away from conflict, which can lead to further problems by encouraging passive aggressive behavior. Others become too aggressive and allow the situation to get out of hand. Everyone has different ways of dealing with conflict, but here are some strategies I’ve found that help me resolve the issue and still be proud of my actions.
1. Consider how you would like to be approached if you upset someone: Quite often when I’m angry, I get defensive and try to throw the blame on someone else. While you don’t want to get defensive, I feel it’s important to explain your actions. This allows the person you’re disagreeing with to understand the reasoning behind your actions, as well as how their resulting actions made you feel. While you’re explaining yourself, be mindful of the tone you’re using to avoid sounding condescending or authoritative. I find it best to remember the golden rule and treat others as I would want to be treated.
2. Address the situation promptly: While some situations are difficult to address because you fear the way others may react, I find it’s better to address the situation rather than beating around the bush. When I let my feelings about people who bother me fester, I no longer desire to associate myself with those people. I let those bad impressions taint my view of them. When I hesitate to address the issue, people often aren’t aware of the way their actions had affected me and question why I’ve been absent from or less enthusiastic about our friendship. When I later inform them of the way they caused me to feel, and the issue is resolved, I realize how much time elapsed while we weren’t speaking and how many more memories could have been made, had I addressed the issue sooner.
3. Keep your cool: Often, when I’m disrespected or upset, I get angry. With anger, we often say things we don’t mean, and we can’t take back things we say. Although I believe in addressing the situation promptly, it may be better to take a personal timeout to remain levelheaded. In order to be the best version of myself, I aim to say the things that need to be said in a way that won’t require an apology later. This encourages me to share my opinions about the way the situation was handled in a firm but non-offensive manner. If I need to confront someone, I try to speak to them in a manner in which I would want to be spoken to if they were confronting me.
4. Admit your flaws: I know that I’m not perfect, and I expect myself to make mistakes. By acknowledging this, I humble myself and apologize when others tell me I have offended them. Although apologizing takes skill, it’s better to apologize to others than to be prideful and risk losing relationships due to arrogance. We may not always feel the need to apologize, but we can’t control the way others interpret our actions. We must be empathic to the viewpoints of others.
5. Seek solutions: Once both sides of the disagreement have explained their actions and further insight is gained, it’s not enough to just apologize. If no solution is found, the opportunity for the problem to reoccur still exists. Finding a solution to deal with problems of that nature prevents you from having further conflict. While you may not have the opportunity to discuss this solution with the opposing party, you can still make resolutions with yourself for how you can avoid conflicts in the future.
6. Get over it! Once you’ve addressed the conflict and found a way to prevent further altercations, it’s time to make peace with the situation. Since none of us are perfect, we should expect others to make mistakes. While I’m not encouraging you to constantly forgive people who to consistently make the same mistakes, I do believe in forgiving and forgetting. Once the altercation has ended, you must let it go. Once you’ve moved on, there’s no room for gossip that can bring about further conflict.