Communicating in conflict


The fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. -Proverbs 18:2

Think about the last time you talked through a conflict with someone.  Could be your mom/dad, boyfriend, best friend, roommate, classmate (those pesky group projects, oy)… you get the idea.

Hopefully this isn’t hard for you to pinpoint.  We experience conflict all the time if we are interacting at all with other human beings.  But a lot of us don’t choose to engage in the conflict. We brush it under the rug, ignore it, and hope it goes away.

The hard truth is that we need to communicate in conflict.  The #1 reason roommate relationships are so hard is because we don’t communicate well with one another.  We don’t engage well in our conflicts.

I had a huge epiphany last week.

When I communicate in conflict, my goal is to be heard.  I want the other person to know what I am thinking or why I am feeling a certain way.  If I’m being brutally honest here (and I am), I think I am right 90% of the time.  So, when communicating in conflict, I think that if I can just express my opinion well enough to you, you will then see that I am right, agree with me, and the conflict will be over.

How horrible is that?

That is not only incredibly selfish and self-centered, but it is also an awful way to approach communicating in conflict.  The Proverb at the top of the page calls me a fool.

Instead, the goal of communicating in conflict should be mutual understanding.

The next time you choose to engage in conflict and communicate with someone, be intentional about hearing them firstMake your goal to understand where they are coming from and what they are feeling.

A fool takes pleasure in expressing his opinion. Let’s choose to be wise and approach conflict with the intent to understand.

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