Communication 102 – Confronting to Discover Peace

I don’t have a problem with confrontation, as long as it has a purpose.

Two Long-Time Residents of Neptune Road

credit: Flicker

Discovering truth, building community, or resolving broken relationships – these are things worth fighting  for.  Arguing about who drives the best brand of car, or whose sports team is the worth rooting for, well, that’s just dumb.  At least in my opinion.

“It’s amazing though, how quickly people will bail when a conversation grows tense.”

However, if you have a friend, or you’re in a relationship, it might be worth fighting for that friendship.  Not to prove you are right, mind you, but to keep it strong and focused.  Too often our conflicts are selfish and merely serve to boost our own ego.  Winning this sort of argument is really pointless.  On the other hand, if you and your spouse are seeking to work through a problem, understand an issue, or wrestle with some quandary, you would be best to stay in the discussion.

“If the friendship means anything to you…”

It’s amazing though, how quickly people will bail when a conversation grows tense.  I’ve been pondering this for awhile, trying to figure out why this happens.  I’ve come to the conclusion that most people either have not seen conflict resolved well very often, or, they have no idea how to resolve conflict – other than to flee.

If you grew up watching your parents argue about the same issues over and over again, without ever resolving the issues, why would you ever want to argue with anyone about anything?  Or, if every time you have an argument with someone, you end up in tears, or with a broken nose, it really wouldn’t make sense to argue.

“But what if you knew that working through the issue was going to lead to a stronger relationship?”

But what if you knew how to listen, you first tried to understand another’s point of view, before pushing your own agenda, and you knew that working through the issue was going to lead to a stronger relationship and two healthier people?  Would that give you more hope to work through the conflict?  I think so!

Sadly, in the past couple of years, I’ve lost a couple of dear friends due to conflict.  I thought we were merely having a discussion trying to seek a healthy resolution to some complex problems, but apparently my friends didn’t feel the same way.  I have to admit, it is quite frustrating for me to end a conversation before it is finished, but I realize, I can’t force another to stay in the conversation.

Taking a break is fine.  Asking the other person to change their tone, method, or approach is also helpful.  You may even express your discomfort and let the other person know you aren’t able to stay in the conversation – but don’t just leave.  If the friendship means anything to you, be honest, speak up – fight for the friendship.

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