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Conflict and Communication

Communication can be a pervasive issue in relationships. From marriages to parent-child, to boss-employee relationships, communication is key.

Conflicts are something that come up in all types of relationships and can be intensified by issue with communication.

Styles of communication and the types of issues with communication certainly differ depending on the type of relationship. However, some basic communication skills and tips are applicable no matter what type of relationship or conflict you are dealing with. From speaking with your spouse to speaking with your boss, the following communication tips are applicable.

Have a sound foundation

The basis of good communication is a solid foundation. With your spouse, children, and other family members, this foundation is typically built on happy memories and fun moments shared together.  Making time for these relationships will help to improve the communication. But don’t just spend time with them talking about your issues, use the time to just be with them. This can do more for improving the relationship than time spent attempting to work on issues.

For professional relationships, the foundation will more likely be built on respect. Co-workers, superiors, and subordinates will be far more likely to listen to your input when they feel the respect you have for their thoughts and concerns.

Truly aim to understand their side

People can easily tell when someone says “I understand” but doesn’t really mean it. Conversations have better outcomes when all parties are truly seeking to understand the wants and needs of the other side. And people are more open to truly listening themselves when they feel they are being heard and considered. Aim to lead by example to achieve this. Try restating what the other person has said and asking if you understood them correctly. Remember that it is listening rather than talking that improves communication!

Take a break

When disagreements become too heated, be willing to walk away and bring it up again later. Allow everyone a chance to calm down and gather their thoughts.  Stay aware of your own emotions escalating. If you notice your heart rate increasing, palms beginning to sweat, etc. but you seem calm on the surface, do not try to keep pursuing the issue. Take the initiative to table the discussion for a moment and bring it up again later.

Find common ground

When you have been able to calmly discuss an issue and have truly sought to understand the other person’s side, common ground will be easier to find. Offer what you think is a commonality and see if they agree. Use this common thought or view to move forward and try to reach a compromise that works for both parties.

Conflict is something that is unavoidable in all relationships. But conflicts do not have to be damaging to the relationship. For more on effective communication, check out this post from Psychology Today-


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