These are the steps that can cause breakthroughs in your life and relationships:
Source – Where is the conflict arising from? What is the antecedent for the situation?
A simple illustration: you have been doing the dishes for the past week all by yourself while your partner has not chipped in – not even once. You are starting to feel taken advantage of, and no longer wants to do the dishes moving forward if they are not divided between the two of you evenly.
Time and Place – When is the best time to have a conversation about this topic? What is a neutral place where you and the other party are able to have a sit-down?
Beware: after work, before bedtime or when you’re on vacation (especially if the conflict involves a partner, family member or a relative) are not good times. Keep in mind that public spaces can be problematic as well, especially if they are very crowded.
Time and place are extremely important to resolving a conflict. Take them into consideration carefully; otherwise, you will feel frustrated and the conflict will still be there.
Friendly Approach – Start the conversation by saying something positive about the other person. Keep it simple and truthful. Instead of saying “you are a nice person,” be as specific as possible. For example, you might say: “I really appreciate that you called my mother to wish her Happy Birthday last week.” Everyone loves to feel seen, heard and valued. You want the other person’s positive attention, not for them to be on the defensive.
Behavior – Here you identify the behavior that is causing the conflict.
What human beings tend to do in situations of conflict is to lump together every past action by the other person that annoyed them or caused them stress at one point in time. This is not the time for that! You will identify and point out the one attitude that has caused the conflict you are there to talk about. Do not mention something that happened several months ago or last year, and definitely not something from a decade ago. Those are different conversations altogether.
Emotion – This is where you explain to the other person how their behavior made you feel. Most of the time, we do not stop to fully assess how the person we are in conflict with has impacted us. Speaking from the “I,” this is the moment to voice exactly what the effect on you was, such as “I felt frustrated,” “I felt devalued” or “I felt hurt.” The other person will probably be surprised because we do not usually stop to examine the impact our actions or words have on another human.
Voicing Your Needs – In this final step, you will voice what you need from the other party moving forward. For example, you can say: “I need for the laundry duties to be divided 50/50 between us,” or “I need you to take the dog outside once daily.”
Whatever it is, here is your chance to come to a resolution.
Remember that conflicts are opportunities. They are a source of energy that can be used for innovation, creativity and transformation. They also lead to curiosity – being willing and able to listen to another person’s opinion and point of view.
Eric Faria is a Communication & Synergy Specialist, Podcaster, Speaker and Columnist. He produces and hosts the TV Show I AM with Eric Faria, available on YouTube. The show is also a podcast on Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud. To schedule your initial consultation with him, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.