There's no time for fussing and fighting, as conflict resolution experts John Lennon and Paul McCartney once wrote.
Consistent close quarters can breed conflict. And when emotions are already frayed, our mole-hill sized problems can quickly grow into mountains. That’s why we reached out to Kwame Christian of the American Negotiation Institute to talk us through strategies for conflict resolution. His three-step process for approaching conflict sounds simple, but it’s easier said than done.
- Acknowledge and validate the emotion. Recognize how everybody is feeling about the situation, even if it's difficult.
- Get curious with compassion. Ask lots of questions and genuinely listen to the answers.
- Joint problem-solving. Once both parties have acknowledged how they're feeling and identified why there's an issue, come up with solutions together — so that there is buy-in from both sides.
Listen to our episode to learn more about how to put these ideas into practice. That way, the next time your partner, say, leaves his wrappers on the table instead of throwing them away even though we’ve repeatedly had this discussion…wait, where was I again?! Whether the issue is big or small, Christian says the first step to having successful difficult conversations is to change your frame of mind: arguments need a winner and a loser, but conflict resolution is a win-win. No matter what your situation, we could all use some W’s in our corner right now.
-Andee Tagle, Life Kit Producer