Conflict is inevitable in your relationships. However, it doesn’t have to leave you in tears of frustration if you have the skills to communicate in a constructive way that diffuses the emotional discord immediately.
When conflict occurs in a relationship, it’s typically because it’s an ongoing problem that hasn’t been addressed properly by getting to the root of the issue. Or, it is because you and your partner are evolving as individuals so the relationship needs to go through a growth spurt, too!
Your relationship has to remain a top priority in your life if you want it to continue to thrive and stay alive. The minute you enter fear mode and don’t speak up, that is when you lose your inner power to ask for what you need, neglecting your self-love. This feeds the negative loop of self-talk leaving you questioning your place in the connection.
So, how do you communicate to ask for what you want when emotion is heightened and feeling uneasy?
Here are 5 Communication Skills You Can Implement Immediately To Diffuse Conflict:
1.Communicate With Calm Tone of Voice
Your tone of voice is crucial to de-escalating the conflict. When you keep your tone of voice at a calm, medium tone it helps you bring your partner’s tone of voice down for alignment in order to achieve a healthy outcome.
The reason tone of voice is pivotal to your success is because conflict can’t be resolved when emotion is heightened. Emotion causes the problem to expand into a larger complex issue as personal attacks start to drive the conversation only to create a larger divide.
Ten percent of conflict is a result of different opinions, whereas ninety percent is a reflection of tone of voice.
2. Ask Open-Ended Questions
Open-Ended questions will be your best tool to keep in your back pocket when it comes to resolving conflict. We call this skillset “playing the naive card,” but ultimately what you are really doing in breaking down the defensiveness to gain understanding of where your partner is coming from. This actually keeps you three steps ahead in resolving the discord.
Asking open-ended questions allow you to gather more information in hope of bridging the gap between two different perspectives for a win-win outcome. These types of questions elicit more than a Yes or No response from your partner.
You can preface open-ended questions with:
How? What? Where? Can?
Tell me more
Help me understand
What you’ll want to avoid using “Why” Questions. This often makes your partner feel personally attacked and become more defensive, preventing a resolution. Not to mention, this is the quickest way to shutdown the conversation and remain at an impasse. It’s best to use open-ended questions to create a safe haven for conversation to flow back and forth between you and your partner.
3. Actively Listen For Insight
You may find it innate to react emotionally when you are triggered by a specific event or your partner’s response to your request. When this happens, you may not hear what is being said because you’re preparing yourself to react back and defend your position. This type of hearing is passive and prevents you from gaining insight to understand your partner’s perspective.
When you disengage from the present moment, you omit the act of listening. Active listening allows you to slow down the conversation to gather information and listen with intent. As you actively digest your partner’s perspective, you can respond to scenarios in a respectful manner to reach a resolution from a place of value and confidence. Keeping a confident position gives you the ability to tap into your internal power and preserve your emotional health.
By actively listening to your partner, you can keep an open perspective on ways you can find common ground between both sides of the conflict to create an alignment. This allows you to appreciate your partner and comprehend the underlying root of the issue so it doesn’t become an ongoing source of discord.
4. Create A Win-Win Resolution
If conflict shows up in your relationship, constructive communication is what takes the cake to keep it thriving. Having a negative mindset will prevent you from having a healthy conversation in order to work with your partner. Maintaining a calm and positive perspective while working through differences is the only way a win-win outcome can come to fruition.
When striving for a resolution, you may have to be willing to give something up in order to gain fulfillment for the health of the relationship. A “WE” mindset is the only way we can resolve to evolve. This means getting outside of your own personal wants and thinking about what is best as a couple to grow and deepen the bond.
For example, perhaps you want to talk to your partner all day long while they are at work. And, your partner isn’t much of a texter and prefers to work in solitude. This creates a problem based on style preferences for communication. While open communication is essential for a relationship, you and your partner have to establish a way to bridge the gap between your different styles. Using boundaries is a great way to find an agreement that suits you both to be a power couple together.
5.Establish Actionable Steps To Evolve
Once you resolve the discord, creating an action plan for preventive measures will improve your relationship for future setbacks. You can create actionable steps by establishing relationship goals around the areas that you would both like to work on a team. After establishing your goals, write down three steps that will help you both achieve that one goal. You will want to repeat the same process for each goal you write down.
This helps you and your partner maintain alignment as well as work together to overcome challenges you encounter as a couple. And to help each other out, set an accountability date of when you would like to achieve your goal. By setting a date, you are making your relationship a top priority and showing up accordingly to what’s important to you.
If you are committed to the process, then more than likely your partner will do the same as you can only receive what you are willing to do first for yourself. This alone can strengthen the bond between the two of you as being committed to the journey is crucial to your relationship success.
As challenging as it may be to speak up, chances are it’s time for the relationship to evolve to the next chapter bringing you closer together. Disagreements serve a positive purpose in relationships, as it’s a sign growth needs to occur to increase intimacy and connection. At the end of the day, it’s not why you fight, it’s how you fight to resolve your differences. Following the five steps will give you a positive outcome, making each argument less painful and more beneficial to your relationship.
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