When there is conflict in a relationship, the last thing that many of us want to do is to have a conversation with the other party, especially if we feel that they have wronged us.
However, if you want a resolution to the tension and pain that the conflict has caused, it really is a good idea to talk to the other person. Many times, you can gain insight into why the conflict began and learn what steps are necessary to heal the relationship and yourself!
Try these methods to increase dialogue with others and strengthen your relationships:
1. Begin to reopen communication by listening. You can learn about the other person’s feelings and beliefs when you practice active listening. Many conflicts begin when one of the parties wants to be heard, as we all do, but believes that no one is listening.
* Rather than thinking about whether you agree with what the speaker is saying, learn to focus on their words. Give the speaker verbal and visual cues that let them know that you hear what they’re saying.
2. Set some ground rules. Make it safe for the other party to open up to you, and for you to share your perspective.
* Set a time limit for each person to speak, and the other person to listen. Usually 5 to 10 minutes is a good time frame.
* Then, the listener should summarize what they’ve heard, so the speaker knows they were listening and understood their meaning.
* Swap places and allow the other party to share their thoughts.
3. Emphasize the positive. Avoid placing blame and making demands.
* Let the other person know how their actions affect you without attacking them or making accusations.
* Explain what they can do to make it easier for you to communicate with them. Ask what you can do to enhance your communications.
* Avoid yelling matches. When we yell at one another, we are no longer listening, but trying to force our view on the other. If you feel frustrated and tempted to yell, take a time out and agree to discuss the situation again once you’ve regained control of your feelings.
* Rather than making demands or giving ultimatums, let your partner know how you feel and what you want by making a respectful request, with the full understanding that they have the freedom to comply or deny the request.
* Take ownership for your part in misunderstandings. Determine how the choices you’ve made may have led up to the current conflict.
4. Learn to respond rather than react. Take the time to plan your response, rather than letting your emotions get away from you. Consider how your response will be received.
* If you have a hard time managing your anger or other emotions, relaxation techniques like taking a deep breath can help you lower your stress and deal more effectively with them.
While most of us spend a good part of our day talking with others, true communication takes time and practice to master. These tips can help you to develop your dialogue skills and strengthen your relationships with others.