Due to recent complications in my life, I've decided to share my thoughts here on my blog, so I'm taking it in a new direction.  I'm getting off the social networks for a while and will be spending time here at Picnicgal's Place.

Starting the series will be this wonderful article I saw today regarding responding to conflict.  It's something I really needed to see at this particular time.  The Universe is a wonderful place.

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Why do so many of us tend to avoid working through misunderstandings, disagreements, and arguments?  Often we choose to avoid conflict even when we know it is not the best strategy.  Perhaps we find conflict emotionally distressing, or we fear hurting others or even disturbing relationships.  With practice, you can learn to improve your conflict management skills.

Understand That Conflict is a Normal Part of Relationships

Whether a disagreement happens with a co-worker, a significant other, a friend, or an acquaintance, remember that some conflict is inevitable.  Let go of the perfectionist thinking that conflict shouldn't happen.  Conflict does not signal failure.

Retain Control of Your Emotions

Separate the person from the problem.  If you find yourself becoming very angry or agitated, take a time out to manage your emotions.  Return to the situation only when you are ready.

Listen to the Other Person

Listening forms the foundation for healthy negotiation.  In the rush to state your case, it is easy to overlook or misunderstand the other person's position and become defensive.  Take time to think about what you are hearing the other person say and reflect it back to assure your understanding is accurate.  Ask clarifying questions such as, "So you are saying," or "Tell me more."  And remember that listening does not imply agreement; you can listen to the other person while still maintaining your perspective.

Identify the Other Person's Needs and Expectations

Ask questions such as, "What do you want to change?" or "What do you need from me?"  This helps clarify expectations and begins the process of effective problem-solving.


Avoid a win/lose scenario.  Stay flexible, and focus on creative problem-solving that goes outside your solution box.  Don't back away from ideas that initially feel wrong to you.

End on a Positive Note

Thank the other person for taking the time to speak with you and express a shared value.  For example, "I know this project is important to both of us.  I appreciate your time and interest in understanding my concerns and for considering them."

Be Patient

Many disagreements are based on long-held differences.  A single discussion may not be enough; assume that you may need some ongoing conversations to turn things around.

Seek Outside Support

Sometimes both parties benefit when a third party such as a trusted friend, counselor, negotiator, or manager intervenes.

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Sometimes life just throws us a major curveball that you never see coming.  I am fortunate to have the assistance through my employer of Carebridge (www.myliferesource.com).  Their staff has been instrumental in assisting me with several different issues, and I am grateful for their help.

I hope this article on Responding to Conflict helps you as much as it is helping me.

Until next time ...