|Image Courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/|
A part of life that is inevitable is fighting…it’s bound to happen. Every disagreement though doesn’t have to end in a lost relationship and the Bible offers tips on how you can handle a disagreement and still keep your relationship with the person…here are a few times adapted from Matthew 18.
1. Approach the Person Alone Don’t stew over your feelings and avoid speaking with the person. Instead, speak to the person when you feel offended. If you need to take time to calm down, then be sure to do that but then go and ask if you could speak with the person. It’s tempting to wait for them to come to you first but the Bible encourages that if YOU’RE offended or hurt that YOU pursue the person. Don’t make the other person “guess” if you’re upset with them…
2. Listen Aim to try and understand what they are saying BEFORE you try to explain yourself. Listen to them and then repeat back to them what you believe they are saying to be sure you understand. For example you can say, “ok so what I hear you saying is….” and then say in your own words what they said to be sure you’re getting it right.
3. Take Responsibility For Your Own Feelings No one can MAKE YOU feel something. You make yourself feel something, you choose how you react to a certain situation. So take ownership and use words like, “I feel [insert feeling] when you [insert what they’ve said/done]” This avoids blaming the other person and instead gives them a chance to address their behavior rather than how they affected you.
4. Bring a Mediator If you realize after talking to them alone once, that the person is not listening or that you’re struggling to understand what they are saying…then ask for another person to sit with you. You can simply say, “I really want to resolve this but I feel as if we are having trouble communicating with one another, so I would really like it if maybe we could have someone else sit with us that is completely unbiased so we can both understand each other and resolve this.” Each of you can suggest someone who can remain unbiased and understand each of you and also shares the goal of trying to repair the relationship.
5. Establish the Goal At the beginning of the conversation, state what you both want from the conversation. It’s always nice to hear that you both are trying to repair the relationship and that is the end goal and so when you both know that that is the goal, it’s easier to then air out any problems.
6. Agree to Disagree You may not agree with your friend on their feelings towards something and that’s ok! Don’t believe that you HAVE to agree on EVERY thing in order to be friends. If you like cheese but your friend hates it, that’s ok. You can still be friends! 🙂 So don’t feel that the argument has to end with an agreement on an issue, it’s ok if you disagree, just be respectful of the differences and appreciate them because it gets boring really fast if you both agree on every single thing. 🙂
Check out my episode on TMEC Radio on how to handle conflict and let me know below if you have any tips or questions down below!!