Tips for Healthy Conflict Resolution

Healthy conflict resolution is very important in our close relationships. It is also important in our relationship with others, our coworkers, neighbors, friends, and anyone we come into contact with. Conflict doesn’t have to be ugly, though over time, many hurts and unmet needs can make healthy conflict resolution a challenge. To keep communication healthy or o begin the process of healing, these are a few tips to keep in mind.

*Be aware of your conflict style. This can be based on your upbringing or culture. It can be impacted by any trauma you may have experienced.

*Approach conflict from the perspective that each person’s view is valid, rather than one person is right or wrong.

*Use respectful vocabulary that avoids name calling, foul language, “Low blows,” or derogatory references. (It helps if respectful vocabulary is used on a regular basis. It’s difficult to bring our “best self” to a stressful encounter.)

*Pick your battles, prioritize the most important concerns.

*Stay on the present issue unless to address problematic patterns. When we bring up various conflicts at one time, this acts a distraction from making progress in any particular direction.

*Communicate with as much calm as possible. Be aware of body language and tone of voice as they can communicate unintended messages.

*Use I-statements, “I feel unheard and unsupported” rather than You-statements “You are so selfish.”

*Use active and reflective listening. Active Listening Example: “It sounds like a very stressful situation.” Reflective Listening Example: “I hear you saying that you would like more time together.”

*Offer a reasonable solution. “It would help me if you…”

*Allow a Time Out if the conversation becomes counterproductive or over heated. Before the conversation, discuss a return time and process. When each person has had some time to cool down, come to a neutral area gradually or discuss a time to continue the conversation.

*Prepare with rest and nutrition. If people are hungry or tired, they will struggle more with healthy conflict resolution.

*Recognize the real issue. The obvious problem may be a symptom of a deeper issue, often more sensitive and uncomfortable to acknowledge. Working with a therapist may help to identify and work through these delicate revelations.