Nance L. Schick recently suggested to Bustle’s Kristine Fellizar ways to have a more honest relationship when conflict makes us anxious. Nance reminded readers that we all feel anxious in conflict, even if our anxiety manifests differently. The aggressive person in a conflict might be as anxious as the quiet one.
Tips on having open and honest discussion regarding a conflict, despite the anxiety include:
- Define the conflict simply and succinctly. (This is Action One of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process.) Use this framework: You and I disagree about _______. Then, stop. Don’t start arguing your position. Just define the conflict, so you can see that this is about a situation, not the people involved in it.
- Ask questions that help you identify each person’s “interests” in the conflict. (Action Two) What was each one expecting? What do they believe about situations like this? What do they think “should have” happened? Why is this important? What do they need and want? Listen to the responses without judging them as good or bad, right or wrong. Assume that they are real and important to the person who shared them.
- Play with the possibilities of getting past the conflict. (Action Three) If the conflict could resolve in any way possible, what would happen? Can it still happen? What would that take? If it can’t happen exactly as desired, how close can you get?
So often, a conflict is much worse in our heads than in reality. Our brains play trick on us, triggering the amygdala’s fight or flight response when there is no immediate threat of harm. No tiger is going to eat us, yet our brains trigger responses that make it feel that way. The best way to break out of that experience is to begin compassionate, explorative conversations.
Click here to read the full article and others’ tips.
For more thoughts on creating mutually loving and supportive partnerships:
- DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master (Book)
- Share Your Needs Before You Expect Them Fulfilled (Blog Post)
- Take the Next Step; You Need to Create the Partnership, Too (Blog Post)
Nance L. Schick, Esq. is a New York City attorney and mediator who focuses on keeping people out of court and building their conflict resolution skills, especially in business and employment disputes. Her holistic, integrative approach to conflict resolution draws from her experience as a crime victim, human resources supervisor, minor league sports agent, and United Nations representative. She is a 2001 graduate of the State University of New York Buffalo Law School trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM). She is also creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master, and an award-winning entrepreneur, who has been acknowledged by Super Lawyers (ADR, 2018 & 2019), the New York Economic Development Corporation/B-Labs (Finalist, Best for NYC 2015 & 2016), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards), and Urban Rebound NY/Count Me In (Finalist, 2013 Pitch Competition).