Every Wednesday, AY About You is committed to bringing you tips and tricks to improve your mental health, and to help instill peace in your life.
This week, we are bringing you tips for managing conflict in your life.
Conflict is unavoidable.
Whether it’s in the workplace, at school, in your close relationships, or with strangers, you are likely to come into contact with conflict. But knowing how to minimize the conflict in your life will, in turn, minimize your stress.
- Accept that conflict will happen
Even the most peaceful of people can find themselves in a state of conflict. Knowing that at some point your personality will clash with another person’s is the first part in mental preparation for moving past conflict.
- Don’t be the aggressor
Even if someone else started it doesn’t mean you have to finish it. Often, conflicts are perpetuated when someone is determined to have the last word, or is determined to be petty to inconvenience whoever they’re opposed to. The sooner you ignore angry pursuits, or the sooner you extend the olive branch, the sooner your opponent will realize that there’s no point in looking for trouble.
- Adopt peaceful language
Many Southerners will occasionally admit to regretting having a “big mouth”. We’ve all said things in heated moments that have prolonged arguments and conflicts much longer than they needed to be, when we could have bit our tongues and let things fizzle out. Many people have great reverence for the art of the “quip”. Being able to fire back with a smart remark or a witty insult has been admired by many, and often encourages us to continue conflicts. However, if we resist the urge to be aggressive in not only our language, but our tone, we’ll find it easier to end conflicts.
Not all instances of conflict are confrontational disdain. Sometimes, conflict can be two different people having two different ways of doing things, and not being able to reconcile differences. For conflicts like these, it’s always best to listen to what the other person has to say. What is upsetting them? Why? What can you do differently? What solution can you find together?
Sometimes, just saying what is on your mind can bring tensions to an end. In college, my roommate and I were in conflict with one another for a whole semester about taking out trash in the dorm. But the moment that I told her why I was upset, she conceded that her family had done things differently. We never had a problem again. That interaction taught me just how easily problems can be solved when you directly communicate your needs and wants with those around you– I just wish I had saved some time and communicated sooner.
- Agree to disagree (for the better)
You don’t have to change the mind of the people around you, and they certainly don’t have to change yours. But keep in mind that even if you disagree with someone about one thing, you might agree with them on another. If you can agree to disagree, and work together on whatever task is in front of you, not only will you display your own maturity, but also earn the respect of those around you, all while bringing the conflict to a close.
Conflicts take many shapes and forms, and manifest for a host of reasons. But by knowing how to diffuse conflicts with those around you, you’ll bring peace to the people in your life, while enriching your own.