None of us like to think about fighting with our friends, significant other, or fellow CHAARGies. While some form of conflict is inevitable in our day-to-day lives, it’s possible for us to learn + grow from it. How do we have productive conflicts with those we love + care about? According to John Gottman, the relationship expert behind *The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,* we might be better off starting with what not to do —
When a critique becomes a personal dig at someone’s character, it sets off a negative domino effect in that relationship. The best way to prevent this is to communicate with the other person how their behavior is affecting you. For example, if we notice that our roommate is not picking up after themselves, it is better to directly ask for more help in cleaning. Turn on some music + make it a roommate bonding sesh!
Too much criticism, even towards yourself, leads to contempt, which means that we express our frustration with disrespect. Instead of holding onto negativity, we should illustrate our appreciation, love, + respect for the other person [or ourselves!] — even during a conflict. Forgive yourself + forgive the other person. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes!
During an argument, we often respond with a *fight or flight* response, which can cause us to be defensive + further escalate negativity. Instead, try taking responsibility for your own role in the conflict + finding a productive, respectful way to meet in the middle + talk it out. Stay neutral + avoid taking it personally!
Sometimes, trying to stay positive in the midst of conflict can result in stonewalling, or ignoring the issue at hand. It’s best to handle the problem upfront with open communication. Try cooling down for a few minutes + returning to the situation with a fresh perspective. In order for a conflict to be resolved, both parties need to be willing to move forward. You’ll both feel better afterward!
Conflict may not always be fun, but it’s inevitable as we grow, change, + evolve. Take a deep breathe, smile, hug it out + be #inCHAARG of the conflict : )
+ Aubree [@aubree_inchaarg] // DePaul CHAARG