How to diffuse conflict before it gets physical
My favorite reads on dealing with conflict
Video on how to stop fighting with your spouse
When it comes to conflict its better to shake hands than make bruises
We all have conflicts with people. It is simply far too idealistic to think that we can all get along all of the time.
I believe that some conflict is healthy. For example, if you are agreeable 100% of the time, I would say you have no spine nor your own thoughts and opinions.
However, there are times where conflict can escalate. It is all too easy when in a conflict for the wrong words to be used, for voices to escalate, and some cases, for fists to start swinging.
Conflict can turn harmful within a bat of an eyelash because when we are in conflict, our blood is pumping, and we are often looking to be right, and spending so much time engaging in the conflict that we don't realize the long term effects it can cause.
Here are the typical scenarios where conflict occurs:
- At work
- Between lovers
- Amongst family
- With strangers in public
- At school
- In traffic
How you handle conflict really says a lot about you. I recommend sitting down and thinking about the arguments that you have had in the past. How did they go? Do you regret any of them? Why? How could you have handled it better?
I am a little bit vivacious, so I tend to have conflict with people more so than the average female. However, I know when friendly conflict needs to be capped before it turns detrimental. I often sit down with myself and asses how I interact with people and come up with a diffusing conflict "game plan."
If you can look at your relationships and ask yourself " How can I stop this from turning into a conflict" is going to be the hardest and biggest step, but you need to do it. Saying " they started" helps no one. Even if it isn't fair, you are making a much bolder statement about yourself if you chose to be the ADULT in the situation and do the right thing.
Here are some tips that should be used in order to deal with conflict in a healthy manner:
- You can disagree with someone. If you are confident within yourself, you will know how to disagree, while maintaining tact. If you don't assert yourself off the bat, it will lead to a larger conflict down the road.
-In all of your relationships, you should strive to have a "give and take" balance. This means that compromises must be made, you need to make a personal effort to be a good listener, empathetic, and genuinely care about the people in your life.
-If you sense that someone is upset with you, or if you KNOW someone is upset with you, confront them in an adult manner. Be respectful. Simply ask them if you did something wrong, what you did, and how you can fix it. If you ignore these "vibes" you sense from people, their anger will build towards you, and will explode at some point. The same goes for you, if someone is making you upset. Confront them, talk it out like two adults.
- Take responsibility for your actions. People will get annoyed with you on a regular basis if you cannot own up to your mistakes. You want those who you care about to fess up to their mistakes. Otherwise, if someone always denies that they did something wrong it's basically saying " I did nothing wrong, you did everything wrong," which is hurtful, and, not true.
- Acknowledge the other person's feelings and don't get defensive. For example, " I know you are upset with me that I didn't call. I am very sorry, It was extremely rude of me, and I should have made it a bigger priority."
- Compromise. Try to find a solution to the problem that you are both satisfied with. This is the biggest part of that "give and take" idea. Sometimes, its worth it to suck it up to put the flames out in a conflict. You have to pick your battles.
....And then there are those instances where one or both of the people in a conflict are not acting rational, and the conflict has escalated.
- Is the other person yelling at you? Calling you names? Don't yell back. You are simply stooping to their level. If you tell them you'd like to talk about it when they are calm, and walk away, I bet they're going to feel foolish for acting so unreasonably.
- If you sense that things are getting out of control WALK AWAY. Especially if you feel that things are going to get physical. You can always revisit when both parties are calm and collected.
- If someone hits you, then yes, defend yourself. However, do not continue on longer than you have to. Don't try to win a physical fight, escape as quickly as you can, find a safe place, and seek help. You should never let someone hitting you just slide. Call the police, talk to the principle, tell your boss, tell your parents, whatever the situation calls for.
Final thoughts on diffusing conflict:
- If you feel unsafe, get help, call the police. You need to put your personal safety first.
- If you can't resolve a problem on your own, get someone to moderate.
- If someone is emotionally, verbally, physically abusive towards you, they have no place in your life, cut them out immediately.
- During a conflict, treat others how you would like to be treated.
- Unless the person causing you some type of harm, you should always try to work out a solution, it is never wise to burn your bridges.
Note: If you need someone to moderate a problem, or if you need counseling or advice, please leave a comment with your e-mail address.
Relationship resource center
- Relationship resource center
More tips on how to manage conflict with others. Offers counseling. Also links to helpful articles.
Advice on dealing with family conflict for kids
- Advice on dealing with family conflict for kids
Great website for kids seeking advice and help for when their family fights. Gives great specific tips on being in a fight with different members of your family.
Dr. Phil's advice
- Dr. Phil's advice
Check this link out to see what Dr. Phil says about fighting with your significant other.
Dealing with bullies at school
- Dealing with bullies at school
Great guide for children and their parents about dealing with bullies at school. If you are getting bullied at school DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE.
- Dealing with conflict at work
Great starting point for dealing with and avoiding conflict at work. Links to several articles on how to be a drama-free successful employee.