Conflict # 16 – Hang in There!

If you know how a pressure cooker works, you know it contains a valve on the lid that allows steam to escape slowly. Without the release valve, the pot would explode. Keep that image in mind, please.

Most of us dislike conflict and tend to avoid it. In some cases that’s a fine policy, but in important relationships it’s not always a good idea. When avoiding conflict becomes a habit, trouble can arise. Bad feelings build up, and they’re expressed later, often not so nicely.

Everyone benefits when we express our feelings in a way that invites cooperation. The problem for so many people is that self-expression comes out wrong or the other person hears it incorrectly. If this happens often enough, walking out seems like the only option. But walking out doesn’t solve anything. The other person believes you’re giving up, that you don’t care, you’re weak or stubborn. You’ve got to resist the temptation to walk out.

Now, there’s an exception. If you’re arguing and you begin to feel agitated, you can use a skill that my clients have found useful. I call it the “limited time-out”. Tell the other person that you need a break. Say how much time you need, do something refreshing or relaxing, and promise to pick up the conversation when you’re calm. This shows that you’re not bailing out. Then you keep your word and start talking again. I know this method works, because everyone who uses it tells me it works.

I have been coaching this method and many others since 2004. I’m not a genius, and it’s not rocket science. Anyone can learn conflict management skills. It just takes a strong desire to improve your relationship, to be the best you can be, and it takes discipline and patience. If you’re wondering whether this could work for you, I assure you it can. Feel free to contact me for a free consultation by calling 219-309-3928. I’d be honored to be of assistance.

Thanks for reading!