Conflict resolution: fighting vs negotiating

by rodney on June 15, 2014

Couple-Fighting-angry-smallerIt’s not uncommon for families to fight with each other.  Whenever there’s a conflict to resolve, families will often try to resolve it by fighting.  The problem is, fighting never resolves anything and a conflict left unresolved is going to come back.

That’s why I prefer negotiating to fighting.  When you negotiate your chances of resolving conflict is increased. Resolving conflict is the key to happy family dynamics.

So what is the difference between fighting and negotiating? The differences between the two are basically opposites.

Win/ Win vs Win /lose

In negotiating, we’re going for a win-win resolution.  In a win/ win situation, we need to answer 3 questions, what do I want, what does the other person want and what can we do to get there together?  When we fight, we are trying to end up in a win/lose situation. This is where 1 person is trying to win the fight meaning the other person loses. Often when fighting, people often resort to “dirty” tactics to win such as yelling, name calling, belittling or even violence.  A win/lose outcome does not resolve conflict, it imbalances the power and the relationship and often leads to misery, heartache and resentment.

Logical vs Emotional

Emotions and logic can’t exist at the same time. We can be highly logical or highly emotional.  When we negotiate, we are logical. This means we operate from a place of thinking and reasoning. To do this we must be emotionally neutral. When we fight, we are highly emotional. This means that we can’t think or rationalise.  As soon as you start to get emotional during your negotiation you need to stop, call time out and come back because you can’t negotiate and come to a win-win if you’re emotional. You need to keep it logical if you want to resolve your conflict

Flexible vs rigid

When negotiating, people must be flexible. They must be prepared to compromise in order to achieve a win/win outcome and resolve conflict. When people fight, they are rigid, unwilling to make any compromises or reach any win/win outcome. Remember to be flexible to resolve conflict.

One topic vs everything

The final characteristic of negotiation is that they stay on one topic.  You need to focus only on that one topic until it is resolved. When people fight, they jump from one topic to another.  It’s no wonder that they lose track and forget what they were fighting about in the first place. How can anyone resolve a conflict when they forget what they were talking about in the first place? Stay on topic!

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