Tools & Techniques for Fighting Fair

A major challenge in any relationship is handling conflicts. We all have conflicts and disagreements but how we handle our conflicts can mean the difference between an emotion-driven shouting match and creative problem solving. Having a conflict doesn’t have to mean that you dislike each other; it only means that you disagree about something. When you have a conflict use these tools and techniques to effectively face your problem.

Set a time to discuss the conflict. Make time to talk about what is bothering you. It should be a time when both people can give their undivided attention to the issue. Don’t have important conversations when you are very angry, upset, tired, in a hurry or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Ask the other person when is a good time to talk about what is bothering you. If the other person puts up resistance in meeting with you. Try to help them understand that the problem is important to you.

Identify the problem. Be specific. Vague complaints or problems are difficult to work on. Take time to explore all the facts of the problem. Don’t just assume you understand the problem until you have explored it a bit. Frequently simple little issues have an important “hidden agenda” under them.

Listen Carefully. Genuinely listen, don’t think about what you plan to say next while you’re listening. Stay calm. Don’t interrupt. Allow the other person time to share their point of view. Make a true effort to hear and understand their concerns and feelings.

Work on one issue at a time. Make up your mind about what is your main concern and discuss it. Don’t bring in other topics until each is fully discussed. Don’t use your present concern as a reason to throw in all your complaints from the past and then use the stockpile of complaints and resentments from the past to fuel the present. Then the original complaint gets put on the back burner and nothing gets resolved.

Know what your goals are before you begin. Ask yourself, what do I really want from the other person, is it realistic? What are acceptable outcomes to me? Then give the other person a chance to correct the situation. Try to see the issue from the other person’s perspective and accept their feeling without being judgmental.

Search for a solution that is satisfying for you both. Brainstorm, you propose solutions and give the other person the opportunity to propose solutions. Both of you offer as many ideas as possible in a brief period of time without evaluating or judging them. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each proposal.

Be prepared for some compromise. Try to find solutions that are peaceful and satisfying for both of you. If no solution is reached regarding the problem or issue, set a time to begin the discussion again. When this doesn’t seem to work, be prepared to disagree about some things. Sometimes completely resolving a disagreement is impossible.

Express your appreciation to the other person for them discussing the issue with you. Convey your respect and maintain a spirit of good will. Finish on a positive note.

Conflicts and disagreements are a normal, unavoidable and even a healthy part of relationships. These tools and techniques can help you establish an atmosphere of cooperative problem-solving.

A Final Word. If you feel like your relationship has deteriorated to the point where cooperative problem-solving can not be achieved, you may want to consider a neutral third party to mediate the discussion.

Copyright Rashun Jones 2002 "All Rights Reserved" Reprint only with permission from author

Author's Bio: 

Rashun Jones is a registered nurse and author living in Oklahoma, she has twenty five years experience as a registered nurse. Rashun has an arsenal of tools for dealing with difficult people and communicating more effectively using verbal, nonverbal and good listening skills. She is the founder of The Nushape News, an online report dedicated to helping you improve your effectiveness and Performance at home, work and in the community. She is the author of “Blueprints A Way of Life” & “Eboni Chronicles”Rashun can be contacted at: Nushape Pubn P.O. Box 36651 Oklahoma City, Ok 73136Phone: 405 424-5445 E-Mail: rashun@nushapepublication.comVisit our Website: