Dear Esther May 2022

This month represents a bit of a departure from my usual advice column where I answer reader’s letters. With all the conflict in the world right now, I felt it timely to talk about resolving conflict. When two people have a disagreement, either party (or both) can find it difficult to apologize. Making amends can be tough but it doesn’t have to be if you follow a few basic steps. Reading the steps is simple, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. 

  1. Describe what happened using I statements and stick to the facts 

  1. Use a normal tone of voice 

  1. Try to see the opposite side by listening to the other person’s feelings and thoughts 

  1. Own your mistake or your part in the conflict. 

  1. Say you are sorry with no “buts”. 

  1. Ask for forgiveness whenever necessary. 

  1. Come up with a plan to move past the conflict. 

  1. Move on and try not to harbor hard feelings. 

These steps may seem straightforward but often they are not. Egos, patterns of behavior and traumas often get in the way to success. The goal of conflict resolution is not to determine who was right and who was wrong but rather to come up with a solution that both parties agree upon. After talking through the conflict, let it go and move forward with your relationship. Everyone deserves the right to make mistakes and to have a second chance. And some of us might need a third or fourth chance. Let’s face it, relationships can be difficult no matter what type of connection you share. But at the end of the day, relationships are all that matter, and they are worth the effort. 




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