CONFLICT RESOLUTION & RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT...
Appropriate Resolutions for life’s relationships.
Jennifer and Vanessa are sisters who had not communicated for months except one cold "hi, how are you?" quickly exchanged in passing at a coffee shop. The invisible ‘wall’ between them had become more divisive since the stress and tensions which surfaced during and since their Mother's death; their few telephone exchanges over the past three years had unhappily been less than amicable. As Christmas approached, and Jennifer felt a need to connect with her siblings, especially Vanessa, she reached out to invite her sister to lunch "one day when you are free." Three weeks later Vanessa responded. Instead of the intimate lunch and conversation Jennifer had envisioned, and hoped for, Vanessa led her through two big-box stores in the suburbs broken up only by exchanged pleasantries and 'surface-only' conversation during a break over coffee and muffins.
What became clear to me as I listened to Jennifer's story was that she felt a bridge had been built between them, mitigating somewhat the disappointment about the distance between them. Jennifer's view was that between them, a common conscious or unconscious decision had been reached about the importance of their relationship; so much so that that both sisters 'walked on eggs’, taking great care not to irritate the trigger points which had kept them apart to one extent or another since their teenage years. Acceptance of differences and 'baggage-like' experiences for the sake of their relationship was the way Jennifer framed it. The strategy seemed to work as both parted that cold pre-Christmas day feeling better towards each other than each had felt in many months if not years.
I co-facilitated a workshop several months ago during which all but one of the participants indicated that changing their lives was a common reason for their attending on that beautifully sunny Saturday morning. All but one also specified that 'relationships' were what was challenging them. When a person's life-satisfaction meter registers on the low side, generally or specifically, and if one or more relationships are at the root of how the person is feeling, avoidance will usually not make things 'better'.
Envision your preferred relationship (with the targeted person*)... in detail:
· What would the 'preferred' relationship with the ‘targeted*’ person look like?
· How important is the relationship to you; in fact, how important is he, she, or are they to you … and why?
· How hard are you prepared to work to make the relationship ‘work? How much time, energy, or effort are you prepared to invest so that the relationship with that person functions to the 'common' satisfaction of each person involved?
· Are you interested in finding out how the other(s) would respond to the previous three questions?
* A ‘targeted’ person is defined here as one with whom you've decided to pursue a relationship. ...More about prioritizing your relationships…
ABOUT Conflict... What conflicts look like…
Disputes … WHAT DO DISPUTES LOOK LIKE, and how do people react or respond when conflicts escalate into disputes? (the many faces of conflict),.
CONFLICT RESOLUTION TIPS AND GUIDELINES: Strategies and behaviours for you to apply when in conflict.
CONFLICT CHRONICLES: Original stories by Joseph Ravick with a common theme. The chronicles feature real-life conflicts describing the people, their relationships, and the outcomes which they experienced whether they liked it or not.