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Old 09-13-2012, 08:38 AM
 
74 posts, read 106,037 times
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On occasion I have some relatively serious conflict with friends, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, and other people in my life that are important to me.

With my wife we have conflict simply because we spend so much time together, have an emotional relationship and do so many things together where we have a different approach or philosophy. Because my wife and I need to make it work we tend to talk it out (or on occasion, scream it out) and then we go back to normal and get along just fine.

Conflicts with the other people in my life are not solved as easily. Society generally recommends a passive aggressive approach to conflicts outside of the immediate family. This can involve things like: the silent treatment, slow to return emails or phone calls to send a message, saying we are busy when we really aren't, lots of non verbal negative messages, or the big one- avoidance- hoping the problem will go away.

None of these passive aggressive approaches to the conflict seem to work very well if you every have to see that person again. Instead, it just seems to make the situation worse.

Have you ever had much luck talking about a conflict with someone outside of the immediate family and reached a win win outcome? Or do they dig in their heals and never admit they were wrong?

Last edited by chit chatter; 09-13-2012 at 08:51 AM..
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:06 AM
 
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Well, for one thing, I don't think conflict resolution is about getting the other person to admit he was wrong. If that's what you call a win-win outcome you might be better off sticking with the passive aggressive approach. Although, from my own experience, I will add that you might end up screaming it out with your wife less if you can drop "one of us is wrong" from the equation. Not that you won't still have disagreements or tension - but they'll be somewhat less contentious.

I try to adjust my approach to suit the family or friend's style. Two of my sisters are not talk it out people at all - the other sister prefers to talk and get closure. Two of my sisters - the talker and one of the others - have had a feud for years because neither is willing to bend to the other's way of handling conflict.

I'm not a silent treatment or other punishing reaction kind of person but will admit to some avoidance behavior. Sometimes a little breathing room is all that's necessary - and in those cases, I wouldn't describe that as passive aggressive. For example, my husband and I will acknowledge the issue and then come right out and say we'd rather not discuss it right then - and even get physical space. Later we'll discuss it for resolution - with less emotional baggage. That's what I call a win-win. With friends or family, we might not be as direct about needing space, but we'll both take it.

Friends and relatives are one thing - neighbors and co-workers another. There's so much more emotion with family & friends - it's more complex. With neighbors and co-workers, assuming it's a practical or work issue, I try to nip it in the bud and be as frank as possible.

Last edited by toosie; 09-13-2012 at 09:19 AM..
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:15 AM
 
654 posts, read 909,902 times
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I don't think now wanting to talk it out on the spot is necessarily being passive aggressive...maybe the person just doesn't have the mental energy for the talk at that time.

If I thought something was going to end up in a screaming match as per your post, I'd want to avoid talking to that person entirely. You do what works for you...my life is too short to deal with screamers.

Sometimes the best thing to do is just move on, and not talk about every little thing.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:28 PM
 
28,905 posts, read 46,723,251 times
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I think long rap sessions about grievances are counterproductive wastes of time. But, then again, so is sulking around. The latter is like asking someone to bowl with a curtain obscuring the pins. "How many did I hit?" "You hit three." "Which ones?" "I'm not going to tell you."

Best approach? Wait a day and do the following:

1) Recount the incident in generic terms.
2) State that you know the other person wasn't trying to be a bad person, but....
3) State how this action/statement made you feel
4) And be done.

Say your piece in about 20 seconds, be generous in accepting an apology (If any is forthcoming) and move on.
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Old 09-13-2012, 04:36 PM
 
Location: In my skin
9,048 posts, read 14,319,405 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chit chatter View Post
On occasion I have some relatively serious conflict with friends, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, and other people in my life that are important to me.

With my wife we have conflict simply because we spend so much time together, have an emotional relationship and do so many things together where we have a different approach or philosophy. Because my wife and I need to make it work we tend to talk it out (or on occasion, scream it out) and then we go back to normal and get along just fine.

Conflicts with the other people in my life are not solved as easily. Society generally recommends a passive aggressive approach to conflicts outside of the immediate family. This can involve things like: the silent treatment, slow to return emails or phone calls to send a message, saying we are busy when we really aren't, lots of non verbal negative messages, or the big one- avoidance- hoping the problem will go away.

None of these passive aggressive approaches to the conflict seem to work very well if you every have to see that person again. Instead, it just seems to make the situation worse.

Have you ever had much luck talking about a conflict with someone outside of the immediate family and reached a win win outcome? Or do they dig in their heals and never admit they were wrong?
Some relationships are more valuable/necessary than others and that determines how much we put up with.

Some people can't be wrong. It really is about winning/losing and I have no use for that approach.

And society, generally, leaves much to be desired in the brains department. I don't trust them to carve out my path in life. I'd be a bobblehead.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:31 AM
 
74 posts, read 106,037 times
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Maybe talking about a winner or loser, or right or wrong was a bad approach. Let me clarify the question:

Has anyone had much luck talking out disagreements or differences in approach or opinion with people outside of the immediate family? Or is it best to just avoid the situation and let the situation simmer?

(I am talking about people you need to maintain a relationship with for what ever reason so avoidance is impossible.)
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Ostend,Belgium....
8,820 posts, read 6,363,322 times
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I usually let the whole thing simmer. Sometimes you can talk things through, most of the time you just have to let things be and move on. If it's life and death important, OK discuss all you want..but if not, let it be. We're all different and will always have disagreements.
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Old 09-15-2012, 08:31 AM
 
74 posts, read 106,037 times
Reputation: 65
To me letting it simmer just makes it worse because we never get to the bottom of what is causing the problem. But if the problem is brought out in the open then everyone justifies their position and is convinced the other person is wrong or weird and the problem persists. What to do?
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:58 PM
 
Location: Zebulon, NC
2,275 posts, read 5,669,660 times
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There are a whole lot of variables that would determine the approach I would take. What is their relationship to you? Are they friends? Coworkers? Acquaintances? Friends of friends that you will run into during social occasions? Your boss? Parent of your child's friend?

The nature of the situation is another variable.

For me, it's impossible to answer the question without more information.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Charlotte. Or Detroit.
1,455 posts, read 3,651,489 times
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Talk it out or let it go. Silly little things like being slow to return emails and other passive-aggressive nonsense do nothing to resolve an issue and in fact may create more issues.
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