If you feel that you are in a conflict you can’t get out of, here are some strategies you can utilize to manage the situation.
- Accept your situation.
Nobody likes to be in a situation where you feel you are being shortchanged. However, it does no good to avoid the issue and refuse to view the problem as something that can be solved. Therefore, you need to work on accepting what has occurred—you can do this by talking to a friend to relieve some of your tension, and then begin to think about how you want to proceed in talking to whoever has participated in the conflict with you.
- Remain calm and identify the conflict.
The way that you lead a discussion has a big impact on how escalated your experience is, and therefore how successful your conflict management is. It’s important to keep this in mind as you talk to the other person. In order to maintain a positive attitude as you work out the conflict, make sure you and the other person are on the same page about what that conflict is. Share how the conflict affects you, and allow the other person to share how the conflict affects them.
- Separate the problem from the person.
Understand that the person may not be trying to harm you through their behavior. If you notice your roommate has been routinely stealing from your jar of peanut butter, take their perspective into consideration. Maybe the jar was unlabeled and your roommate thought it was something that was shared between you. Maybe they’re used to sharing snacks with their siblings. In any event, make sure you don’t approach them with the mindset that they’ve been out to get you through their behavior. This will allow you to keep the peace as you negotiate new strategies.
- Learn to listen and negotiate.
The most productive problem-solving includes time spent truly listening to and considering the other person’s opinion and experience. Just because they might have caused some trouble doesn’t mean they should be treated without respect. If you approach them looking to fix the situation rather than punish or hurt them, it is much easier to negotiate a solution. You should begin by putting your wants and needs on the table, listening to theirs, and comparing them to find places where you can compromise with one another.
- Know when to compromise, and when to take a stand.
You should enter into conflict management with a healthy mindset—your ultimate goal is to walk away with new resolution and a steady relationship with the other person. However, don’t let the other person dominate the situation just to keep the peace. If you feel that they are still taking advantage of you, the conflict has not been completely managed. Instead, the conflict has only been put off, and is likely going to pop up again later. Therefore, you shouldn’t be afraid to assert yourself now so that you can avoid issues later.