Avoiding Conflict? Yes or No?

Avoiding ConflictWe all have at least one difficult person in our lives at one time or another. Did you know that dealing with difficult people can be detrimental to your health? Whether it is a friend, family member, or co-worker, we all need to learn to deal with that difficult person to save ourselves.

The following are ways of dealing with difficult people and avoiding conflict:

1. Before engaging with a difficult person, spend a few moments trying to adopt a more receptive frame of mind. Go for a walk, meditate, or breathe deeply – you’ll be less likely to blow up.

2. Avoid discussing divisive and personal issues, like religion and politics, or other issues that tend to cause conflict. If the other person tries to engage you in a discussion that will probably become an argument, change the subject or leave the room.

3. Seeing the best in someone is important; however, don’t pretend the other person’s negative traits don’t exist. Don’t tell your secrets to a gossip, rely on a flake, or look for affection from someone who isn’t able to give it. This is part of accepting them for who they are.

4. Do the unexpected and give your foe a gift: your undivided attention. Research has shown that offering even a small act of kindness can boost oxytocin levels, meaning you will likely feel better about your relationship for that reason alone.

5. Remember that most relationship difficulties are due to a dynamic between two people rather than one person being unilaterally “bad.” Chances are good that you’re repeating the same patterns of interaction over and over; changing your response could get you out of this rut, and responding in a healthy way can improve your chances of a healthier pattern forming.

Holding a grudge won’t make a person change their behavior – you really don’t have that much power over someone else. To move on, repeat this: “His/her actions take up too much real estate in my brain. If I move them out, I can live freely.”

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