Fight or Flight?

You’re upset with your husband/boyfriend/mother/sister/co-worker. Do you confront that person and hash it out or do you avoid conflict at all costs? While it may seem easier to just walk away and not rock the boat, it’s better for your physical and mental health to work it out and get it off your chest.

Many people feel avoiding a stressful face-to-face will just make the problem go away. Unfortunately, leaving things unresolved creates physical as well as psychological stress and anxiety. Sure, no one likes a confrontation, but it doesn’t have to be some big blow-up in order to get things settled.

Arguing with someone can completely backfire if you go on the attack. Instead try out some of these more constructive methods of conflict-resolution and you’ll walk away feeling like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

Don’t yell: Raising your voice to make your point will only put the other person on the defensive and prevent anything form getting resolved. Instead, lower the volume and state your case in a very calm and even tone. Likewise, make sure to listen openly without interrupting.

No one “wins”: Don’t be hell-bent on making sure you come out looking like the victor. This is not a battle, but a peaceful negotiation. It’s better to find a happy-medium so everyone walks away a winner.

Watch your pronouns: Rather than peppering your words with “I” and “you”, which will again put the other person on the defensive, use the word “We” which indicates that you both have a hand in the situation and the resolution of it.  “We” means you’re both on the same team, so everybody wins.

Know when to walk away: If you have done all of the above and the other person refuses to budge, then just walk away. But do so knowing that you gave it your best and said what you had to say. If the other person insists on being immature and difficult, then that’s on them. Move on and don’t carry it with you.

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