By Sandra B. —

You avoid them because you just don’t have the strength to argue with them one more time.  Arguing with an idiot is exhausting! What if you couldn’t avoid them forever? What do you do, and how do you handle the next argument?

  1. What are you arguing about? You think you know the thing you are arguing about, but do you? Do they? Seriously!  First thing’s first – state (and agree) on what you are arguing about. Is it really that the laundry didn’t get done or about how no one thought to take something off your super long do-to list?
  1. Listen. Really listen.  What are they saying is the problem? And here’s the hard part — Don’t interrupt, no matter how long it takes for them to get out everything they need to. Ask things like ‘Is there anything else?’ to make sure they are finished.
  1. Repeat what they said. You are not agreeing with it, you are just letting them know that you heard them and that’s 50% of the way to resolving the problem!  “So, I want to make sure I am getting this…I heard that you are frustrated when…”
  1. Tell them your view.  Try to be specific with what you are saying and factual. Instead of saying ‘You never give me a chance in meetings,’ try saying ‘In the three meetings, you cut me off or interrupted when I was speaking.”  Try to let them know why this is important to you. For example, ‘When that happens, no one else in the meeting hears my ideas so the team doesn’t know the value I can add.’
  1. Resolving. Ask and offer multiple options – yours and theirs – being open to each other’s ideas makes trust in the process possible . What is realistically doable for each of you?  Stay away from guilt cards and other emotions like ‘after all those times I saved you with our boss, and you can’t let me have 90 seconds to finish a sentence?’ Try ‘You have said that you want to look good with our boss so you get the next promotion. Wouldn’t it be good for him to see how you can lead the team by getting everyone’s opinion and giving credit to great ideas when the best solution is reached? Let’s try getting everyone’s idea on the new marketing pitch in the next meeting and see how that goes.’
  2. Follow through. This is where some fail the process. If you each do not follow through, all you have done is condition the other person to not trust you or your attempts at resolving conflict.  Do the hard work and follow through.

Lastly, not every attempt at resolving conflict will work.  Sometimes, your/their emotions will get the best of you/them.  As with anything in life, practice makes perfect!