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When it comes to relationships, personal or professional, decision-making processes can result in heated discussions. For anyone who has been in a serious relationship, we all know that these discussions have the potential to get pretty ugly, and for some reason, finding an agreed upon solution can be like pulling teeth, or splitting atoms.

The keys to any conflict resolution will always be in how well a person communicates, and where each party can manage a compromise. Sounds like common sense. But as we all know, when it comes to resolving conflicts, there are very few people who have the presence of mind to utilize the part of the brain where common sense is stored. But I digress…

Of the two, communication will always be one of the more difficult areas to become good at. To communicate effectively with any person, not only does one contend with the various backgrounds a person is raised up in (parts of the country, neighborhoods, rural, urban, etc.), but also natural personalities (introvert vs. extrovert) (Type A vs. Type B). Also, a person’s ability to listen, and/or comprehend speech, could also factor in whether, or not, good communication is taking place. These and other reasons play a role in whether one’s message is heard and understood, and conversely that the return message can be equally understood.

In order to communicate effectively, a person must learn patience. Even though in today’s society, patience seems to be in short supply, the need for it to exist in people is essential in good communication. This is also the area I have the most difficulty with. So, the tips I give here, are the things I’m actively working on to improve my patience.

Do not interrupt. Do not rush to answer. Wait. Take a deep breath, take a moment to digest what’s been said, and then take another moment to think about your response. That last tip is easier for the introverts in the room because it comes more naturally. Extroverts, not so much.

Another aspect to resolving conflicts is compromise. This area can be especially problematic because emotions, pride, and personality differences can each play a part in how much a person is willing to give up or take away. And unfortunately, in my experience, compromise is hardly ever 50/50, more like 55/45.

What I feel I need to point out here is that although my assessment does not, at first glance, appear to be a fair compromise, what needs to be considered is that people are not perfect. Because we are not perfect, neither will our ability to finding a middle ground. The objective of any disagreement should be to find the best solution that works best for all parties involved, but not a perfect solution. There will never be such thing as a perfect solution. This is precisely the reason why compromise is so important.

Consider this, as well. Emotions and personality conflicts can “gum up the works,” of progress, if you will. One’s pride has to be put in check. Type “A” personality people, give way to Type “B” s. Extroverts give the introverts a little more time to process and respond. Oh yeah, and those of you who are more passive in demeanor, should consider standing firm on your position when it comes to working with the active personalities, or else, you’ll never get anything to go your way.

The give and take of any solution will differ with every encounter. But every encounter should be viewed as just that. A give and a take, a push and a pull, an expansion and a retraction. In other words, treat every meeting as different, and be flexible in your solutions. Conflicting ideas should not be considered in terms of winners and losers, but two sides of one coin. Both are important, and both are necessary, and each can contribute to the greater good of solving a problem. It’s only a matter of finding where the two ideas sync up best. To do that, each side will have to contribute something, and/or take something off the table in order to find resolution on any issue.

The bottom line is this when it comes to resolving conflicts. Just as important as it is to be heard, so is it to hear what people have to say. Every person is an individual, with their own feelings, emotions, up-bringing, and background. And, just as important as it is to prove how right an idea is, so is it to consider the points another person is presenting and why that could also be just as correct. Be mindful of perspective, personality differences, and especially emotions.

People are not perfect, so to expect a perfect solution to any problem can be far fetched. That being said, every problem has a solution. It all depends on how well we can communicate our ideas, and how much we are willing to work with others to find a compromise.

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