Conflicts won’t magically disappear by themselves. Being quiet and mum will not, by any means, resolve the conflict. It might temporarily get things moving along in the short-term, but it will only breed resentment and anger. If the root of the problem is left unaddressed, the unresolved conflicts will pile up one after the other until all hope for resolution is lost. This is why families disintegrate, companies fall apart, and married couples divorce. You can prevent the same grim fate suffered by most people who refuse to patch up their differences and turn to adopt an attitude towards effective conflict resolution.
1. First, you have to be aware about your own feelings.
You should be in touch with how you feel—and why you feel that way. What do you want from the other person? What’s the root cause of your anger? In order to detect your emotions, journaling or, in extreme cases, psychotherapy, can be effective.
It’s not always about expressing what your feeling; you also have to understand where the other person is coming from. Some people choose to merely hear and not listen. They don’t even try to reach out of their comfort zone and understand where the other person is coming from. If you’re really sincere about trying to resolve the conflict, move away from the attitude of always thinking that you’re right.
3. Practice Assertive Communication
Communicating your feelings and needs clearly is also an important aspect of conflict resolution. As you probably know, saying the wrong thing can be like throwing fuel on a fire, and make a conflict worse. The important thing to remember is to say what’s on your mind in a way that is clear and assertive, without being aggressive or putting the other person on the defensive. One effective conflict resolution strategy is to put things in terms of how you feel rather than what you think the other person is doing wrong, using ‘I feel’ statements. (Find out more here)
4. Find a mutually acceptable solution.
Once you’ve gotten your point across and you have an idea of the other person’s perspective, it’s time to come up with a solution that both of you can live with. Perhaps a simple apology is all that’s in order. Maybe all that you need to do is tone down your choice of words. In the process of sorting out your differences, you’ll most likely realize that if both of you are truly intent in resolving the conflict, there will always be a common ground that both of you agree upon.
5. Know when to stop
In extreme cases where emotional or physical abuse is present, the best solution is sometimes to just take a step back and call for a break. If the problem is too grave and irreconcilable, sometimes the best thing to do, however hard it is, is to simply walk away.