Home > communication, conflict, mental health > Resolving Conflict In Relationships (Part 2)

Resolving Conflict In Relationships (Part 2)

Last time we discussed the factors that lead to conflict. Today I want to suggest a few techniques to help resolve conflict.

Active Listening

Active listening is a valuable skill for resolving conflicts because it enables you to demonstrate that you understand what another person is saying and how he or she is feeling about it. Active listening means restating, in your own words, what the other person has said.
Active listening is a way of checking whether your understanding is correct. It also demonstrates that you are listening and that you are interested and concerned. These all help resolve a situation where there are conflicting points of view.

Active listening responses have two components:
(1) naming the feeling that the other person is conveying, and (2) stating the reason for the feeling.

Here are some examples of active-listening statements:
“Sounds like you’re upset about what happened at work.”
“You’re annoyed by my lateness, aren’t you?”
“You sound really stumped about how to solve this problem.”
“It makes you angry when you find errors on Joe’s paperwork.”
“Sounds like you’re really worried about Wendy.”
“I get the feeling you’re awfully busy right now.”

Actively listening is not the same as agreement. It is a way of demonstrating that you intend to hear and understand another’s point of view.

Benefits of Active Listening

If a person uses active listening as part of his or her communication style, it has a positive effect on dealing with conflicts when they arise. This is because of the following benefits:
1. It feels good when another person makes an effort to understand what you are thinking and feeling. It creates good feelings about the other person and makes you feel better about yourself.
2. Restating what you’ve heard and checking for understanding promotes better communication and produces fewer misunderstandings.
3. Responding with active listening has a calming effect in an emotional situation.

General Tips for Managing Conflict

1. Stick with “I” statements; avoid “you” statements.
2. Avoid name-calling and put-downs (“A reasonable person could see that…”).
3. Soften your tone.
4. Take a time-out (“Let’s take a break and cool down”).
5. Acknowledge the other person’s point of view (agreement is not necessary).
6. Avoid defensive or hostile body language (rolling eyes, crossing arms in front of body, tapping foot).
7. Be specific and factual; avoid generalities.

Preventing Conflicts
Now that we’ve talked about how to resolve a conflict, let’s look at how to prevent conflicts from happening. Think of situations in your life where there don’t seem to be many conflicts. What might be happening there? Chances are, you are practicing one of the following conflict-prevention skills:

1. Bring issues out in the open before they become problems.
2. Be aware of triggers and respond to them when you notice them.
3. Have a process for resolving conflicts. Discuss the process with those around you and get agreement on what people should do in cases of differing viewpoints.

God has called all men to peace. Let’s do our best to be peace makers and dealing with our conflicts in a healthy manner.

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