Conflict in relationships is inevitable. Disagreements and differences of opinions are a natural part of any relationship, whether it be romantic, familial, or platonic. However, it’s how we handle and resolve these conflicts that can make or break a relationship.
Here are 10 research-backed ways to navigate conflict in a healthy and productive way:
- Communicate openly and honestly
Effective communication is key in resolving conflicts in any relationship. It’s important to be open and honest about your feelings, needs, and concerns, and to listen actively to the other person’s perspective. Avoid using blame or criticism, and try to stay focused on the issue at hand rather than bringing up past problems.
- Practice active listening
Active listening involves fully paying attention to the other person, without interrupting or reacting immediately. It involves listening to understand rather than to reply. This can help the other person feel heard and understood, and can also help to de-escalate the conflict.
- Take a break if needed
If the conflict is causing strong emotions or is becoming heated, it may be helpful to take a break to cool down. This can give both parties time to think about the issue and approach it with a clearer head.
- Use “I” statements
“I” statements are a way of expressing your feelings and needs without blaming or attacking the other person. For example, instead of saying “you always forget to take out the trash,” try saying “I feel frustrated when the trash isn’t taken out because it’s part of our agreed upon household chores.” This can help the other person feel less defensive and more open to finding a solution.
- Seek to understand the other person’s perspective
It’s easy to get caught up in our own viewpoints and forget to try and see things from the other person’s perspective. Taking the time to understand where they are coming from can help to find common ground and resolve the conflict.
Compromise involves finding a solution that works for both parties. It may not be a perfect solution for either person, but it’s a way to move forward and find a way to coexist peacefully.
- Keep the big picture in mind
It’s important to remember that conflicts, big or small, are just a temporary disagreement and should not define the entire relationship. Keeping the bigger picture in mind can help to put things into perspective and not let minor issues ruin the relationship.
- Seek outside help if needed
If the conflict is ongoing or particularly difficult to resolve, it may be helpful to seek the assistance of a therapist or mediator. A neutral third party can often provide a fresh perspective and help facilitate effective communication and resolution.
- Practice forgiveness
Forgiveness is an important part of any relationship and can help to move past conflicts and rebuild trust. It’s not about condoning hurtful behaviour, but rather letting go of anger and resentment and choosing to move forward in a positive way.
- Learn from conflicts
Conflicts can often provide an opportunity for growth and learning in a relationship. By reflecting on the conflict and what led to it, we can learn how to communicate more effectively and find ways to prevent similar conflicts in the future.
In conclusion, conflicts in relationships are a normal and inevitable part of any relationship. By following these research-backed strategies, we can effectively resolve conflicts and maintain healthy and fulfilling relationships.