Unfortunately, we will always find ourselves in situations where we have to confront somebody about something. Whether it is dealing with our significant others, family members, friends, or co-workers, times will arise where we will have to confront others about how something was handled. If maintaining healthy relationships is important to you, below are two things that can help to minimize the potential for confrontation when confronting someone.
Understanding the Other Person’s Points-of-View
In Dr. Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, habit 5 is “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”. Understanding this philosophy alone can help to dramatically decrease the level of confrontation in your life and help you to more effectively communicate to others to help you to get on the same page as others and help you to build healthier relationships.
When we find ourselves either at odds with another person or needing to communicate something that might not pleasantly received, if we stop to view things from the other person’s point-of-view, we should get some key information around what the other person is experiencing or going through and this could be used when determining what direction makes the most sense.
But the most powerful aspect of this concept is actually to communicate to the other person that you understand their position early in any discussion that has potential for confrontation. This can be accomplished by simply stating your understanding of what the other person is going through or thinking. For example, saying something like, “I understand that you are dealing with a full load and have a very tight schedule.” By stating this, you will be disarming the other person and this should help them to bring their guard down. This is effective because if you think of a confrontation being like two people sitting at opposite sides of a negotiating table, when you share with them that you understand what they are thinking or going through, it can help to put you on the same side of the and this can help improve the dialogue when confronting someone.
Stating Feelings vs. Facts
One of the biggest opportunities for confrontation when confronting someone is when there is a disagreement on the facts that have been presented. One way to eliminate or minimize potential for disagreement on the facts is to discuss your perception instead of hard facts around the reality.
For example, someone in a relationship may feel like the other person is not paying enough attention to them and they may confront the other person with a statement like, “You are ignoring me.” When they say that, they are making a claim about the reality of the situation and this can be argued by the other person in terms of its accuracy, which can lead quickly to confrontation.
Think if the statement was changed to, “I feel like you are ignoring me.” By simply adding the part “I feel like”, you change it from a statement about hard facts to a statement about feelings and perception. This then becomes something that can not be argued and a statement that cannot be incorrect. This help to decrease the potential for disagreements when confronting someone.