How to sort things out so as not to spoil them

A clear instruction on the example of a domestic conflict. =”How to sort things out so as not to spoil them” />

Daria Zotova

How to sort things out so as not to spoil them

Daria Zotova Author- freelancer, supporter of non-violent communication.

In any relationship, disagreements sooner or later arise: the boss does not pay for overtime work, the neighbors listen to music at maximum volume and interfere with sleep, the partner ignores his part of the household duties. Often the discussion of the problem takes place in a raised voice: the participants argue, get personal, blame each other. It would seem that the best way to maintain a relationship is to avoid conflict situations. However, in this case, the problem will not be solved, and negative emotions will accumulate like a snowball and can burst out at the wrong moment.

There is a way to constructively resolve disagreements – Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler about him write in the book “Difficult Dialogues”. The authors offer simple tools that allow you to calmly discuss problems and find solutions that are beneficial to all parties to the conflict.

Let's use the recommendations from the book on the example of a domestic conflict of a conditional couple – Irina and Oleg.

The essence of the conflict is in the uneven distribution of household duties: most of the cases fall on the shoulders of Irina, while Oleg reluctantly performs individual assignments, but more often finds excuses. Irina considers the current way of life unfair: both work, which means that they should do the housework together. The girl wants to talk to her husband and redistribute duties equally.

How to behave in a conflict situation

1. Start with yourself

Answer the questions as honestly and as thoroughly as possible.

  • What do I want to get as a result of the conflict for myself? For example: “I want more time for rest and favorite activities”, “I want a fair distribution of household responsibilities.”
  • What do I want to get as a result of the conflict for my opponent? For example: “I want Oleg to have time for rest and favorite activities.”
  • What do I want to achieve for our relationship? For example: “I want cleaning to be no longer a reason for quarrels”, “I want to spend more time together.”

Questions will help you understand your true motives and approach the dialogue more consciously. “I want Oleg to help with the cleaning” in our example is just a strategy to achieve real goals – equality in everyday life and free time.

2. Follow the signals

In a conflict, it is important that the parties feel safe. In this case, the participants communicate on an equal footing: calmly, frankly and respectfully. However, conflicts are often accompanied by strong emotions and it is sometimes difficult to understand from what point the conversation has gone the wrong way.

There are a number of signs that will help you recognize the moment of loss of trust and security in time.

  • Physical reactions: fists clenched, brows furrowed, tears in eyes, lump in throat, voice trembling.
  • Emotions: fear, resentment, anger, sadness.
  • Behavior: indifference, exit from the dialogue, categoricalness, labeling, insults, threats.

3. Restore your safety

When you have picked up dangerous signals, it's time to restore your safety.

  • Sorry if you lost your temper or showed disrespect to the other person.
  • < li> If the interlocutor misunderstood you, explain what you really mean: “I don’t want to say that you are lazy at all, I notice and appreciate your help. I mean, since we're both working, it would be fair to share household chores equally.”

  • Find a common goal that serves the interests of both parties: “Let's think about how to maintain order with minimal effort.”

4. Control emotions

When we are overcome by strong feelings, it is difficult to continue the conversation in a constructive way. Sometimes fear, resentment or anger is so strong that you want to completely leave the dialogue. To avoid getting trapped by emotions, ask yourself questions that will help you look at the situation differently. Let's analyze unproductive behavior strategies and ways to change them.

Victim – “It's not my fault”

A question to ask yourself: “Am I trying to ignore my role in creating this problem?”

Spending free time cleaning – Irina's choice It's not my fault that she doesn't have enough time to rest.

Am I trying to ignore my role in creating this problem?

If if I helped Irina, she would have more time to rest. Now she simply has no other choice – otherwise the house will be dirty.

The villain – “It's all your fault”

The question to ask yourself is: “Why could a reasonable, decent and rational person do this?”

Oleg is looking for excuses not to participate in the cleaning, because he is lazy.

< em>Why could a reasonable, decent and rational person do this?

At the beginning of the month, Oleg said that his boss had entrusted him with a responsible task with burning deadlines. Since then, he sleeps badly and stays late at work. Maybe he is tired?

Helpless – “I can't do anything else in this situation”

The question to ask yourself is: “What can I do to move towards achieving what I want?”

I can't convince Oleg, I'll have to clean it myself.

What can I do to move towards achieving what I want?

I will create conditions in which clean up is easy and fun. I will reduce the cleaning time with the help of modern technology. I delegate part of the work to the cleaning service.

5. Speak respectfully

Share facts, not opinions

Rating: “You're lazy. You're always looking for excuses.”

Fact: “The last three times you refused to help me with the cleaning, and I cleaned up by myself.”

Explain how you see the situation

Be consistent: before drawing conclusions, describe the chain of events that led you to these thoughts.

Bad: “You do not appreciate my work.”

Good:“Last Sunday, you refused to help me with the cleaning, and I cleaned up by myself. And when I returned from work on Monday, I found a dirty stove in the kitchen, and a stain from spilled tea on the floor in the bedroom. I felt offended: I cleaned up all Sunday, and on Monday the apartment was dirty again. I got the feeling that you do not appreciate my work.”

Avoid being categorical

Remember that the interlocutor has the right to an opinion different from yours. Make it clear that you respect the other person's point of view.

Bad:“In families where both partners work, household chores should be shared equally. Anyone who thinks otherwise is retrograde and sexist!”

Good: “I think since we both work, it would be fair to share household chores equally. How do you look at it?”

6. Listen thoughtfully

Ask for the other person's opinion

Maintain a safe environment for them to speak freely: don't interrupt, don't get distracted, stay calm and friendly.

Be attentive to non-verbal signs

If the facial expression or actions of the interlocutor contradict what he is saying, point out the discrepancy. Probably, the interlocutor is not completely frank, because he no longer feels safe.

– Oleg, how do you look at devoting cleaning every Sunday?

– I don't care. We'll do as you say.

— You say you don't care, but at the same time you look unhappy. If this option does not suit you, we can discuss another.

– You know, this option is really not the best. I just didn't want to argue again.

Help the interlocutor express his position

If in a safe atmosphere the interlocutor still does not finish something, make an assumption about his thoughts and feelings. Sometimes just a little push is enough for a person to readily continue.

– Oleg, you probably think that you will have less time for rest and favorite activities?

– You rights. I'm afraid to drown in the home routine.

Agree out loud

If the interlocutor voiced an idea with which you agree, say so. In most cases, people continue to argue over minor disagreements, losing sight of the fact that they agree with each other on the main and truly important points.

– Irina, I don’t want to spend the whole day cleaning cleaning.

– I agree, on the weekend I want to relax, and not clean up. We can devote 15 minutes to cleaning on weekdays, and leave the weekend for our favorite things. How do you like this option?

7. Come up with a plan

It is not enough to negotiate correctly and come to a joint decision. It is necessary to draw up a plan for the implementation of what was conceived: to think over specific steps, agree on deadlines, distribute responsibility. Otherwise, the agreements will remain words, and the conflict will not be resolved.

As a result of the conflict, Oleg and Irina figured out how to cope with cleaning with minimal effort and not lose motivation.

  • Allocate money from the family budget for household appliances: a dishwasher, a robot vacuum cleaner, a slow cooker. Deadline: Until the end of the week. Responsible: Oleg.
  • Delegate cleaning of the hood from grease and dirt to the cleaning service. Deadline: Until the end of the week. Responsible: Irina.
  • To cook dinners for 2-3 days. Listen to podcasts while cooking. Start today.
  • On weekdays, after dinner, it's jet cleaning time. The timer counts down 15 minutes, you need to have time to clean up your area. Start today.
  • Add game elements to cleaning. Assign points to each household chore: throw out the trash – 3, wipe the dust – 5, vacuum – 10, wash the toilet – 15. Enter the points in the table, and sum up at the end of the month. The loser prepares a surprise for the winner: a massage, a cake or a book – any pleasant little thing. And if the rivals scored the same number of points, then you can arrange entertainment for two. The start of the game is the beginning of the next month.

What to do if the conflict cannot be resolved

In an ideal world, the parties to the conflict respect each other's needs, control emotions and find a joint solution to the problem. In reality, there is a possibility that the conversation will not work out, the conflict will not be resolved the first time or at all. Evgeny Ilyin in the book “Psychology of Communication and Interpersonal Relations” identifies three unfavorable outcomes of a conflict situation: avoiding conflict, confrontation and coercion. Below we will consider what can be done with each of them.

When the interlocutor leaves the conversation

Obviously, you should not start a dialogue if a person is sick, experiences strong emotions (anger, resentment, sadness) or is busy. However, it should be remembered that the interlocutor can hide behind excuses in order to avoid discussing the problem.

1. Be persistent and agree on specific dates

— Oleg, I value our relations very much. It saddens me that lately we often fight over cleaning. Can we discuss this problem now?

— I watch football, come on later.

Bad: “You don't care about our relationship!”

Good: “When does the match end? Can we talk after him?”

2. Ask why the other person is avoiding the conversation

Ask or suggest. Perhaps he is uncomfortable discussing certain topics due to upbringing (for example, sex) or because of past negative experiences. It is important to maintain a safe atmosphere: do not pressure, do not blame, do not criticize.

– Oleg, I noticed that you are uncomfortable discussing cleaning. You may think that I will criticize you, but I just want to calmly discuss the problem and find a joint solution.

3. Explain that it is important to discuss the problem now

Otherwise, in the future, negative emotions will accumulate like a snowball.

— Oleg, lately we often quarrel over cleaning. The longer the problem exists, the more the quality of our relations suffers: irritation and mutual insults accumulate. Let's talk.

Repeated avoidance of dialogue without good reasons can demonstrate the indifference of the interlocutor to your needs. Think about whether you are ready to continue a relationship in which the other side is not interested.

When you can’t reach an agreement

You and your interlocutor can’t find a common solution: everyone insists on your point of view. When all reasonable arguments are used, insults, insults, claims are used – the dialogue develops into a scandal.

1. Set rules

They will help you stay within the scope of a constructive conversation. For example, use only “I-statements”: instead of reproaches and accusations, talk about your own thoughts and emotions that arose in response to the current situation.

Bad: “Oleg, you are lazy . Instead of helping me with the cleaning, you watch TV for hours. You treat me like a free servant.”

Okay:“Oleg, I consider it unfair how household duties are now distributed. It saddens me that I do a lot of things alone: ​​I cook, wash dishes, clean the apartment on weekends. Because of this, I have little time for rest and favorite activities. I want to redistribute responsibilities.”

2. Invite a moderator

An impartial third party will help guide the dialogue in a peaceful direction and find a joint solution. A family psychologist, a colleague from a neighboring department, or a mutual friend can become a moderator – the main thing is that the person is not interested in the conflict.

When an opponent imposes his conditions

Sometimes the interlocutor tries to impose his point of view at any cost, even if this threatens to worsen or break off relations. He puts forward the conditions “be patient or leave”, “obey or wait for the consequences”: “Irina, I believe that a woman should be cleaning, so I will not help in principle. If you don’t like this situation, live with your mother”, “Oleg, if you don’t help me around the house, I will divorce you.”

Coercion is the least favorable outcome of the conflict: the participant demonstrates disrespect for your needs and intolerance for other people's views.

Explain to the interlocutor that such categoricalness is inappropriate: by joint efforts, you can find a solution that suits everyone. If the interlocutor continues to insist on an outcome that is convenient only for him, think about whether you need an unequal relationship, where you constantly have to endure and give in.

Memo of a participant in the conflict

1.Answer the following questions to better prepare for the dialogue:

  • What do I want for myself?
  • What do I want for my opponent?
  • What do I want to receive for our relationship?

2. Watch for signals in order to recognize the moment of loss of security in time: physical reactions, emotions, behavior.

3. Restore security:

  • sorry;
  • explain;
  • look for a common goal.
  • < /ul>

    4.Control emotions. Ask yourself questions that will help you look at the situation differently:

    • Am I trying to ignore my role in creating this problem?
    • Why a reasonable, decent and rational person could act so?
    • What can I do to move towards what I want?

    5. Be respectful:

    • share facts;
    • consistently describe your vision of the situation;
    • avoid being categorical.

    6.< /strong> Listen thoughtfully:

    • inquire about the other person's opinion;
    • point out inconsistencies between words and emotions;
    • guess the other person's thoughts and feelings;< /li>
    • Agree openly.

    7. Think of a plan:

    • describe specific steps;
    • negotiate deadlines;
    • distribute responsibility.

    Cover: frame from the movie Revolutionary RoadEdited by: Natalya Skornyakova