We frequently become part of the problem in interpersonal relationships rather than helping devise a solution. This happens because we lose perspective and let the other person goad us into the conflict. Look at these scenarios and see if you can spot the difference between being part of the problem and not.
1. The other person gets angry and you immediately retaliate and/or defend yourself.
2. The other person gets angry and you ask them to tell you about it and you listen.
Guess which approach is more likely to get better results? There is a myth that we have to fight for our point of view and deny others theirs but this only perpetuates a communication style that is based on conflict. If one person wins then the other loses. I much prefer for each person to win.
One of the best ways to reduce confrontation is to simply listen. The world is not going to end if you don’t retaliate or fight. In reality, you actually connect more with the other person if you just listen to them. You also benefit from not fighting.
People like to be valued and listened to and they are much more likely to work with you to resolve problems if they trust you to not trample all over them. Next time you feel a clash coming on, try listening to the other person without commenting, editorializing or offering your opinion. By doing this you will be setting the foundation for improved communication in the future.
What do you have to lose besides the conflict?