As a therapist, I’ve helped a lot of people solve conflict within their personal and/or professional relationships. I’ve found that there is often a direct correlation between interpersonal conflict and intrapersonal distress. Taking care of your mental health depends heavily on fostering and maintaining healthy relationships. And since conflict is an inevitable part of most any and all relationships, learning strategies to solve conflict can help.
Solve Conflict By Practicing Active Listening
It goes without saying that being a good listener in an essential skill in nurturing relationships. But when it comes to conflict, sometimes listening can be easier said than done. It is almost impossible to remain actively engaged in listening when we are feeling hurt, let down, or attacked. Instinct kicks in and we often switch into defense mode. Being defensive isn’t a bad thing- it helps us remain confident in our position, values, and interests. However, relying solely on our defense skills can keep us from being open to brainstorming solutions to solve conflict. The key is making sure that you are mindfully aware of the importance of actively paying attention and listening to the other party when navigating and solving conflict.
Find Common Interests
In most conflicts, there are at least two competing positions. Both parties are often confident in their assessment of the situation and how they feel it should be handled. There is usually little room for budging on what we each think and feel is best. Therefore, instead of trying to change their mind, we should work to solve conflict by finding common interests. Take some time to dig beneath the surface. Is there a mutual goal? What do both parties want? Is there anything that both parties agree on? Focusing on the bigger picture can help increase each parties’ flexibility and lead to better collaborative problem solving.
Solve Conflict By Aiming For A Win-Win
The best way to solve conflict is to aim for a win-win solution. This gives both parties a sense of validation and satisfaction, while also nurturing relationships. Instead of focusing solely on defending and protecting your specific stance, putting effort toward acknowledging and attending to the wishes and desires of the other party can really pay off. This is especially true if you are also working to maintain a civil and healthy relationship. There is value in working together to brainstorm creative mutual solutions that can be used to not only solve conflict but also grow connection and trust.
Putting It All Together
In the middle of a conflict, it can be difficult to think logically. We need to have a plan in place to help us remember some of the key steps needed to solve conflict. Pausing and taking time to practice active listening, find common interests, and aim for a win-win can help us better solve conflict and build healthy relationships.
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