Saturday, January 16, 2016

How to Resolve Arguments

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Whether you are with your friends, family members, or coworkers, the closer you are to them, conflicts are bound to occur.  

The truth is, even if someone was the clear cause of this conflict, there is a reason behind every action. It may be a psychological, emotional, or even physical reason (ex. menstruation for women), but whatever it is, reasons can be complex and something that is really not that easy to grasp. Therefore, to be critical upfront should be avoided, and rather trying to be understanding is key when it comes to resolving arguments. 

There is no denying that pouring out your wrath and cursing that person is the most impulsive and convenient thing to do. Some choose to just ignore the person altogether in hopes they would never have to re-encounter an argument. All of this is true, but as the title suggests, resolving arguments is the most healthy and moral thing to do. Even though it is not instinctive, you should choose to resolve arguments as this is the best way to keep relationships neutral and make a good name for yourself. 

There are times when circumstances don't allow you to resolve arguments face to face. For example, the person may start to avoid you, refuse to enter a 1:1 discussion, etc. These are frustrating situations and sometimes patience may be the only way around this problem. However, if circumstances allow and you have the courage and a good will to amend relationships, take a look at the following 5 steps to resolve conflicts: 

1. Meet one on one. Never ever enter an argument when there are people around! Even if you think you can resolve it in few seconds, arguments are unpredictable and when more people get involved, things can get awkward and messyEven if close friends are among you, when there are more than 2 people in a conversation, it is difficult to go into depths and get your thoughts across effectively. I mean, it's difficult enough to communicate 1:1, so you can imagine how difficult it would get when a third person starts talking. Having a mediator should be considered when 1:1 conversation fails. All in all, be patient and wait for the right opportunity.

2. Convince yourself that the reason you are here is to "resolve" a conflict, not to rebuke the other person. Even if you were a victim of a perverse act, unless you are in a vertical relationship (ex. boss-employee, teacher-student, father-son relationship), you are unfortunately you are not qualified to teach any lessons. We know it is very difficult to control your emotions, but you have to understand that if you want to communicate effectively, you need to make sure the other person is willing to listen to you. He/she will listen to you only when they are convinced that you are here to resolve a conflict, not to lecture or criticize. 

3. Do not be emotional. When you are speaking, lower your voice, and don't let emotions take over the conversation, because not everyone is capable of talking coherently when they are under severe emotional distress. Not only that, the person who is listening may become uncomfortable and even offended, and this will lead the person to become defensive and reluctant to understand you. 
(If you feel that the listener is slightly bothered and agitated, maybe you need to calm the person down first, and restart the conversation. I know it is difficult to be this considerate and caring when you are actually the one who was the victim of an unwanted argument.)

4. Focus on the cause. Explain the situation and what triggered you to become upset. Make sure you don't start by criticizing the other person! (This causes the person to become emotional) As you are explaining, make sure your descriptions are detailed but simple! The words the other person has used, or the actions that the person committed to get you upset, whatever they are, the accounts should be detailed but simple so that it is easy to comprehend. 

5. When the other person explains his/her stance, listen attentively, and be ready to reply without digression. Listening is important, but preventing the conversation to digress is the most important thing! There are probably thousands of things that can be said between two people. The reason why a person has acted in a specific manner can be attributed to the family situation, past experiences, your dictation, your hairstyle... I don't know heck maybe even the weather! Whatever the other person is saying, I know you can counter it in a thousands different ways, but whatever you choose to say, in the end make sure you come back to the initial discussion and reemphasize what it was that initially caused the conflict. It is great to understand the other person's view, but first we need to make sure the person understands the origin of the problem. Once that is accepted, then we can apologize or make up for the rest of the dialogue and drama that happened afterwards. This is really the only way to resolve a problem, or else the conversation will go on for hours. 

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