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Immediate Conflict Management Exercises to Strengthen Your Relationships

Conflict is a typical part of any healthy relationship, but it can be uncomfortable and difficult for everyone involved If you don't know how to resolve disagreements appropriately, the tension can make things worse. You might say or do things that you later regret, which can affect the relationship profoundly.

Don't Rely On Your Immediate Anger Impulse

Conflict patterns get reinforced over time. But, just because you're used to responding passive-aggressively or making some idle threat doesn't mean you're doomed to act that way.

Effective conflict management starts with being aware of your anger triggers and natural impulses. There's a significant space between wanting to do something and actually doing it. When you can pause and reflect on how you'd like to respond, you're more empowered to make the right choice.

This is why some people find it helpful to take a quick break when faced with conflict. You might need some time to center yourself and regroup. Remember that it's always better to pause than react destructively.

Consider Why You Want to Be Right

Relationship issues often escalate when one person feels an intense need to prove their truth. Conflict resolution, on the other hand, focuses more on mutual respect and collaboration.

But this starts with dropping into your own needs and feelings. What's happening within you that's making you want to prove a point? Are you experiencing some form of injustice? How do you typically respond to differing opinions? What part of you feels vulnerable right now?

This internal work isn't necessarily something you need to share with the other person, but it's integral for understanding your conflict patterns, and it can help you break up your behaviors. Deepening this insight can also help you develop a more stoic approach to managing conflict.

Prioritize Deeper Active Listening

When you prioritize building empathy for someone else, there's often a less intense need to "be right" or "win" in an interpersonal disagreement. Active listening allows you to connect with another person and truly understand their feelings, values, and pain.

Make it a point to listen with the intent of connecting. Even if you disagree, you must understand where someone else is coming from. What's happening within them? What needs do they have at the moment? How are they relying on your relationship to meet those needs?

Remember that active listening is a conscious choice. It isn't easy to do, especially if you're not used to doing it, but practice makes it feel more natural over time.

Practice Verbal Mirroring

Active listening forges the path for verbal mirroring, which can be one of the most important skills in conflict resolution.

Verbal mirroring refers to intentionally listening to someone and then repeating what they say using similar or exact words. Although this may sound like a simple skill, people often overlook how effective it can be.

Verbal mirroring signals that you are genuinely present in a conversation. It shows that you paid attention to the other person's thoughts and feelings and didn't miss anything.

Commit to Softer Start-Ups

A harsh start-up sounds like, "What do you mean you didn't call that contractor? I knew you'd forget! I shouldn't trust you to take care of these things!" Those kinds of accusatory, intense statements naturally make other people feel guilty or afraid. In many cases, they also trigger defensive responses.

A softer start-up doesn't dismiss your feelings, but it asserts needs without attacking someone's moral character. For example, you might say, "I'm a little disappointed that you didn't call the contractor. This is really important to me. When do you think you'll be able to take care of it?"

Determine What Battles You Need to Release

Sometimes stagnant conflicts are a matter of individual stubbornness. If you want to be right about everything, you're going to have a hard time letting go of control and accepting that other people think differently from you. This may sound obvious, but many people still struggle to accept that they can't always have things done their way.

Spend some time reflecting on which battles you need to release. Are you able to accept certain parts of someone else, even if you don't necessarily like those parts? How can you both come to a working agreement to treat each other compassionately and respectfully? Can you set certain boundaries to avoid future conflicts about the same issue?

As a bonus, operating from this calmer mindset can help you think more creatively when navigating conflict.

How Resurface Group Helps People Strengthen Their Relationships

At Resurface Group, building and maintaining healthy relationships is the heart of our work. We know that people are meant to be connected and supported. We implement a strengths-based approach to help people improve their relationship satisfaction in all walks of life.

No matter your story, we are here for you and your loved ones. Contact us today to learn more about our dynamic program and how we can help you.

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