Conflict is inevitable. Whether you’re at work, at home, or with friends, there’s going to be a time when you will see people who have different goals clash, and there are usually negative consequences to that.
Resolving conflicts takes more than just knowing the reasons why they happen in the first place. To avoid these negative consequences and keep them from happening, you must also know the different responses that people can have when in a given situation, so you will know to act accordingly.
Here are a few tips to get started on resolving conflicts the next time they happen:
1. Understand that conflicts are more than simply disagreement.
Conflicts can always be more than a disagreement over ideas, interests, and goals because people value all three differently.
When a conflict does break out, focus on resolving the conflict rather than winning the argument. Even if you disagree with what is being said, it’s important to respect the other person and their viewpoint.
2. Recognize the signs of anger (and its different types).
Being angry is normal, and people can be angry under different circumstances. However, this also means that people respond differently, and because of this, there are different types of anger that you need to know about:
• Behavioral anger (the solution is let the person calm down);
• Verbal anger (the solution is don’t take the words to heart);
• Assertive anger (the solution is express your understanding), and
• Passive-aggression (the solution is to be assertive).
By knowing how a person responds when angry, you’ll be able to understand their current thought process and patterns, and in turn be able to approach and respond appropriately.
3. Look out for context clues and nonverbal communication.
The details are in the small things, whether it’s in the tone that the other person uses, their choice of words, or even in their body language.
When you’re dealing with someone who’s angry, the most important thing you need to remember is to calm down and control your emotions and behavior. This lets you communicate more clearly without threatening, intimidating, or punishing.
4. Choose your battles.
If you ever find yourself in an argument with someone, be sure to take a moment and ask yourself the following questions before proceeding:
Is this (the conflict you are about to enter with another person) worth the time and effort?
If it is, proceed to assert yourself. If it isn’t worth the time and effort to you, then let it go – both resources are too important for you to spend on things that clearly aren’t worth it. In either case, make sure you respect the other person or party and consider their viewpoint and interests.