Bittersweet Chalkolate

Blog about cooking, teaching, and everything else that is my life.

January. Conflict resolution seminar. Day 17.

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Goal or relationship?

The answer to that question determines the strategy that is going to be used for a specific conflict. Let’s look at our options.

I remember when I was pregnant, very-very pregnant, going to work and taking a bus was becoming pretty difficult. Balance is completely thrown off because of the baby and, you know, not all public transit drivers are very¬†careful and considerate while driving. It was winter and I had maternity winter jacket that was hiding my huge belly pretty well. So a lot of people would see me… and continue sitting. And I was not in the mood to stand – bag full of essays, lower back that was ABSOLUTELY killing me, no balance, and a careless driver – all of that would make me ready to kill for a seat. So if I saw an empty seat I would go for it full force, with do-not-stand-in-my-way-or-God-help-me expression on my face. I didn’t care what people would think, say or do, I needed that seat badly. And that, my friends, is an example of forcing.

Forcing is a conflict resolution strategy when your interest in achieving your goal is overwhelming, and you do not care about the relationship. Calling police for noisy neighbours? Forcing. Beating your friend in Minecraft? Forcing. Saying to your kid, “No World of Tanks / Masha and the Bear / Paw Patrol / Monster High until you clean up”? Forcing.

Conflicts are different. They don’t have to be about something important and involve a couple therapist. Clash of interests and goals is a conflict. And when you choose your goal above everything else, it is called forcing. And we all do it. So breath out. You are not a bad person. Just do not overdo it.

Tune in tomorrow for the next strategy.



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