Is There a Conflict You’re Avoiding?

Long before there was Dr. Seuss, there was Tom Brown. In 1680, young Tom Brown was expelled from Oxford University for mischief making, and in response, he wrote this now famous nursery rhyme:  

I do not like thee, Doctor Fell;

The reason why, I cannot tell.

But this I know, and know full well,

I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.

Sound familiar? Sometimes, the distress we feel with another person can linger on and on, long after we’ve forgotten how the conflict began in the first place. 

More specifically, when we’re in conflict with our partner, it has a negative effect on our interactions both at home and work. And contrary to what we sometimes wish, ignoring conflict doesn’t make it go away. 

Is there a conflict you’re avoiding?  If so, start the conversation with yourself, by reflecting on these six questions: 

  1. What’s the impact of this conflict on me, my partner and our company?
  2. How am I contributing to this conflict? 
  3. What if my assumptions in this situation weren’t true? What if they are? 
  4. What risk am I afraid of taking in this situation or in our relationship? 
  5. What do I want for my partner? 
  6. If I could have my partner’s undivided attention for 10 minutes, what would I say? 

This Week:  After reflecting individually, set aside 30 minutes to discuss your answers to #6 together. Now, what one constructive action could each of you take to begin addressing your concerns? One small action can start an avalanche of resolution. 

The sooner you begin to address a conflict, the easier it is to resolve.

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