Expert explains how to behave in a conflict situation and why quarrels are useful

By SSPDaily editionJan 27, 2024 10:05 AMLife
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How to behave in a conflict
How to behave in a conflict. Source: www.linkedin.com

As a rule, the mere thought of a confrontation causes a person to experience a state of near-stress. Its symptoms are heart palpitations, muscle tension, and shortness of breath.

"This," The New York Times writes, "makes us avoid conflicts because the brain associates them with danger. But disagreements are not only inevitable but also beneficial. Studies show that healthy conflict resolution contributes to improved well-being, reduced stress, and increased self-esteem.

Here's how experts advise confronting bullies when you feel like giving up and running away from confrontation.

Start with people you trust

If confrontation makes you feel unbalanced, practice disagreeing with people you trust because honest, unbiased disagreement requires psychological safety.

Try saying to yourself, "I actually have a different opinion." Consider that healthy disagreement is a muscle that can be trained over time.

Enter the discussion calmly

  • First, take a deep breath, which reduces anxiety and helps you stay calm.
  • Then, in a polite tone, acknowledge that you do not know the other person's intentions. People often spend time trying to imagine the other person's motives, but it's impossible to know for sure. In any case, the consequences of their actions are the problem you want to solve.
  • Then, calmly share your concern, focusing on how the situation has affected you. You can say something like, "Hey, you may or may not know this, but I regularly clean up after your dog in my yard."

Describe your emotions

After you have expressed the consequences of the opponent's actions, talk about your emotions and invite the other person to share theirs.

Move on to the "learning conversation"

The next step in your conflict should be a "learning" conversation. Its purpose is to exchange ideas and solve the problem together. You can ask, "What are you most concerned about in this situation?" and "What do you think I don't understand?" After listening, ask follow-up questions and suggest possible solutions.

"Learning" conversations are also useful when spontaneous conflicts arise. For example, if someone says something offensive, ask them, for example, "Hey, can you explain it in more detail?"

By asking these questions, psychologists say, you encourage the person to dig deeper into themselves and think more critically about their comment.

You can control only your actions

Even if we say the right thing, we cannot control the other person's reaction. In such moments, be compassionate with yourself. Say, "I have expressed my opinion. I did the best I could."

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