When our relationships are cruising along, the world smells, looks and feels divine.
But when we’re caught in a bind of conflict with someone we love, the lights turn dim. This is true for both romantic and plutonic relationships; spouse, mother, father, sibling, life-long friends, and significant others.
Conflict, no doubt about it, sucks.
And yet, ‘sh*t happens,’ right? When we’re close to someone, and spend time together, we’re bound, at different points, to collide.
Aside from preventing the collision in the first place, here are a few little thought starters on how to resolve and repair the gap…
1) Is this a good collision..?
By that I mean, sometimes when boundaries are crossed, collisions with loved ones NEED to happen. You’ll know this is the case if you come away from encounters with your loved one feeling down-trodden, energy drained, patronised or judgey-Mc-judged. A collision off the back of such an encounter isn’t a bad thing – especially if you’ve politely and in no uncertain terms stated your case and asked for a raising of standards. True friends and our longest loves, generally speaking, will ‘get-it’ if they’ve over-stepped the mark. Even if they can’t quite see how, they’ll at least try to understand and make amends (in their own, not always obvious, way).
2) Is this a bad collision?
Is this collision even necessary? Or has it happened off the back of feeling tired, or defensive or needing-to-have-an opinion, come what may? If you repeatedly clash with someone you care about, it’s likely more about each other’s territorial lines and Egos (than values you both deeply care about). You’re caught in an *‘Interaction Pattern’. It happens. But one of you needs to decide to let it go. How? Confuse the pattern. Next time conversation gets heated, sit back and pretend you are literally a gecko on the wall. Look for a gap, and insert a ridiculous joke. Or –flip the situation entirely and get crazily interested in what they’re saying; tell them you’re ‘lounging in an opinion-free zone’ and will only be listening and asking questions. Can’t stomach that? Get up and pour a cool drink. Clap your hands, start stretching, make loud burping noises, drink upside down from your cup, do the Macarena.. (okay so now I’m getting extreme.. but you get my point. Confuse the pattern, change the outcome).
3) Kiss and make up
At some point, so long as the person you’re in conflict with is reasonably balanced [ie: not a toxic narcissist], than you’ll want to reach out, say sorry, and make-up. You may be hoping they’ll see the error of their ways and reach out to you first. My view? Bah! Who cares who reaches out? If your heart’s in angst, you miss their crazy face, and your days are less sun and more moon without them, tell them so. Tell ’em you love them. Tell them you hate fighting. Tell them you want to work at working it out. Together. Try this on for size: “Hey. Conflict and fights happen. But I’d rather have the occasional blue with you, than not have you in my life at all. ‘Cause, you know. I love you. Like a LOT. You big dork.”
Easy as that.
*Pattern Interaction; what the? Yep. It’s a term I introduce in my Couple Coaching System – have you checked it out yet?