By Briana | March 19th 2014

We need to talk

“We need to talk.”

We all know what that usually means, right? Yep, something’s wrong.

What is your visceral response to this? Do you want to run? Does it ignite anger? Are you making a mental list of all the things you really “need to talk about” too?

Fight or flight?

Don’t feel bad, we all do this on some level. But, what if we healed our relationship with conflict and stopped trying to avoid it at any cost? What if instead, we used it as an opportunity for personal growth and strengthening of the relationship?

Instead of staying away from conflict, I suggest getting really good at conflict resolution. It’s one of the most useful skills to have in life, it allows you the freedom to better understand the other person, communicate your point of view without upset, and get the result you want from the situation.

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Here are five ways to becoming a conflict resolution aficionado:

1. When you “need to talk,” or someone else “needs to talk” have the conversation as soon as possible. The longer you go without having a direct and honest communication, the more “story” you’ll both make up in your heads about what’s going on. Take immediate action. The only reason to delay is to cool down, if your blood is boiling, so that you can be level headed.

2. When you start the conversation, let the person know what the result you want is, and ask them what result they are going for. If you know the outcome you both desire, you can aim your conversation to it.

3. Listen to the other person, allow for their experience. Seek to understand their point of view, rather than holding tight to your own standpoint.

4. When it’s your turn to speak, do so from your perspective. Express yourself using “I statements” and without placing blame on them or anyone for your feelings or experience.

5. Avoid absolute statements like “never” and “always”, instead focus on the situation at hand in the current moment.

If the conversation is getting off track, circle back to the outcome that you are seeking and express your sincere desire to get there.

Practicing conflict resolution is essential to mastering it, and while I’m not encouraging you to go pick fights with your mama, I do suggest having any hard conversation you’ve been avoiding and using these five key steps.

When you know that you can resolve any conflict, you will no longer be enslaved by the avoidance, leave good relationships, and try to please everyone around you. You’ll be free.