Strategy for Conflict Resolution

4 steps to overcoming hitches in your relationship

Although conflict in a relationship can be extremely frustrating, nearly all people experience conflict and conflict resolution at least occasionally. In fact, sometimes conflict is necessary to move a relationship to a level of understanding for both people. However, learning to resolve and manage conflict is a key part of any relationship, and if you don’t do it well, you could end up with bitterness and unhappiness toward the other person. Before conflict occurs, determine to use a conflict-resolution strategy that will minimize conflict’s ugly effects.

Be aware of the conflict

According to Helpguide, conflict resolution requires that you’re cognizant of what is happening in your relationship, when conflict is needed and what your feelings are. If you are too busy, stressed or aloof to know where conflict is coming from, then you probably won’t be in the best place to resolve it. Similarly, Helpguide states that it is important to be aware of the deep feelings you have regarding the situation. Try to determine the root cause of the conflict.

Reduce stress and clear your head

After you’ve recognized the conflict in your relationship, before you even get to the negotiating step, you need to minimize the stress in your life. Taking time out to meditate, exercise or focus on breathing can help you think more clearly about the situation. When you’re stressed, managing conflict can be much more difficult, and you could be headed toward damaging the relationship instead of a constructive solution.

Employ conflict negotiation strategies

When you’ve taken a knowledgeable approach to the conflict in your life, considering its source and managing your stress, you’re ready to enter the negotiating phase. A good negotiating strategy begins with deciding what is most important for you to walk away with when the negotiation is over. Once you have put a name on your priority in your own mind, enter the conflict negotiation listening carefully for what is most important to the other person. With your priority and the other person's priority in mind, brainstorm creative ways that you can both walk away feeling good about the conflict resolution you've reached together.

In negotiating situations that are emotionally charged, do your best to communicate your feelings in a well-thought-out and non-aggressive way. Just because you’re talking about your feelings doesn’t mean you have to get emotional. In fact, Helpguide states that communication is improved when you keep your feelings out of it — and good communication is key to resolving any conflict.

Resolving difficult conflicts

Hopefully, communicating in a clear, connected way, knowing your priorities and the other person's priorities, without emotional intrusion can help you to resolve your conflict. But not all conflicts are easily resolved. If you’re having trouble resolving a conflict, try looking at it in a new way. Creativity and fresh perspective are key.

It’s also important for the health of any relationship to choose your battles wisely — is it possible to just let this issue slide? If it is, try to think about the fact that you would rather have a good relationship than to “win” in this particular instance. This opens you up to a healthy way of thinking that can help you avoid unhealthy conflict in the future.

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