In the past, when I didn’t like how someone was treating me, I often responded by lashing out, such as by calling the person an asshole. In this post, I talk about what I learned about dealing with conflict recently from a book I read.
From now on, I’ll be kind to people regardless of whether they’re kind or unkind to me. I used to have a spiteful side, but now, I think differently.
If someone is unkind to me, and I’m unkind back, they’ll retaliate to my retaliation and it’ll keep going in an endless cycle. If someone is unkind to me, and I’m kind to them, my actions can likely deescalate the conflict. Also, the person may be inspired to be more kind in the future.
Here are some of the goals I’ve set for being kinder when I’m angry:
- Don’t call the person a name.
- Keep the tone and volume of my voice calm.
- If the person is acting out cuz of an unmet need, and if I feel up to it, I can try to negotiate with them to meet their need.
- If I don’t feel up to engaging, I can remove myself from the situation.
I feel happier and healthier now that I’ve changed the way I react to conflicts. I hope to contribute to making a world a more peaceful place with my new mindset and actions.
The book Nonviolent Communication, by Marshall Rosenberg, has already made an enormous impact on my life, even though I only read it a few days ago. The techniques I’ve learned have made it easier for me to get along with my daddy, who I currently live with. I no longer live in dread of having another messy conflict with him.
At the core of the book is a four step process:
- Observe the person’s behavior and whether it has a positive or negative affect on you (Rosenberg 6).
- Identify how you feel about the behavior (Rosenberg 6).
- Identify the need under your feeling (Rosenberg 6).
- Share your observation, feeling, and need with the person, and request an action that will meet your need (Rosenberg 6).
It’s also important to be willing to receive the same information from another person (Rosenberg 6). The book is full of stories that show how the process works. I think that the examples are somewhat unrealistically formal, but you can get the basic idea from them. I recommend this book to anyone who needs help dealing with conflicts or getting their needs met.
Rosenberg, Marshall. Nonviolent Communication. PuddleDancer Press, 2015. Print.
Last week, I went on a date with someone who I allowed to keep me waiting for three hours until he finally showed up. I was waiting at a bookstore in a mall, and I got so tense and anxious that I couldn’t enjoy browsing the books. The situation brought back bad memories of waiting for hours for other dates, even with people I was in a relationship with. People I have been friends with have also kept me waiting for long periods of time. Both friends and dates have also stood me up altogether. I dunno why people keep treating this way, but I’ve decided not to put up with it anymore. From now on, I’ll wait fifteen minutes past my meeting time with someone, and that’s it.
If someone you just met wants to give you a ride or hang out in a not-public place, it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to arrange your own transportation and insist on staying at a public place, even if upsets them.
If someone wants to have sex with you, and you don’t want to, or you want to sometime, but aren’t ready yet, it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to say that you’re not ready, even if it upsets them.
I’ve done things that I’m uncomfortable with and things that have compromised my safety cuz I’ve been so worried about someone being disappointed or getting angry with me. After talking to my therapist, I understand that my safety and comfort are more important than someone’s feelings.
The same is true for you. If someone gets upset with you for putting up boundaries, that’s their problem, not yours.