There is no such thing as a conflict-free life. Everyone has to deal with misunderstandings at some point. While disagreeing with someone is par for the course, how you communicate differences in opinions or points of view can either defuse or escalate conflict. The way you communicate during disagreements can either ruin or build good relationships. Here are some positive ways to deal with arguments and conflicts that may help avoid further breakdown in communication.
1. Strive for calmness and clarity. Keep calm may seem like an unoriginal and most common advice you will hear. But it remains to be the pillars of successful conflict resolution. Lucky are those who can keep their cool and maintain a level head in the midst of arguments. If you want to resolve communication problems or full-blown disagreements effectively, strive to stay calm. Or at the very least, avoid saying anything you will regret later.
2. Listen, hear, and understand. Active listening is a communication skill that not many people bother to learn. The ability to really listen to what is being said, hear the message – spoken or not, and understand the context is a trait that can be a big help in handling conflicts.
3. Engage to resolve and not to escalate the problem. Standing your ground is a natural reaction, especially if you are convinced that you are right. Engaging in arguments when you are not ready to compromise will likely worsen the problem. Focus on resolution or solutions instead of winning an argument.
4. Keep the respect. You may not agree with someone, but it should not be an excuse to disrespect the person. You do not have to dislike the person just because you do not agree on issues. Keep the respect at all costs regardless of how you are provoked.
5. Be selective with your battles. Do not let yourself be drawn to needless conflicts. Sometimes you have to be selective of which battles you will spend your precious time and energy. If a potential conflict is brewing, quickly evaluate if you should engage or just let go. You might be surprised how liberating yielding or walking away can be.
6. Focus on the issue at hand. One of the surest ways to worsen an argument is to start digging issues from the past. Focus on the problem at hand and how you can resolve it instead of bringing up unresolved conflicts from the past that are not relevant to the conversation.