Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Fighting Skills

Fighting rarely accomplishes much good.  It doesn't prove we're right or solve a problem.

One technique, however, can change a profitless conflict into a victory, and that's coming alongside.  If you can change the context from 'me against you' to 'us vs. the issue', you'll both win.

Remember fighting?  Over some issue, you and your adversary face off, voices escalate, angry faces, accusations spill, the kitchen sink shows up ... typical.  
Tactical change required -- deescalate, discover the goal, collaborate, sit side-by-side with the issue across the table from the two of you, and search for pathways to the goal.

Deep breath, and think it through.  Pointing your frustration at the other person triggers defensiveness.  Instead --  Question the issue, the science, the solutions, the alternatives, the ethical and moral context.  Ask specifics about how and where and how much; about what has or hasn't worked before, about what's safe, about what's fair.

It's tough.  It means I'll have to hear and understand my partner's viewpoint and concerns.  It means they'll have to objectively present their own view, and so will I, but it's worth the effort.

Husband and wife
Parent and teen
Employer and employee, co-workers, neighbors, friends, acquaintances ... and the subjects span the spectrum.  'Conservative vs. liberal' is a big one recently.

We're more polarized as a society today than is healthy; that's polarized, as in 'shallow', perhaps, but we needn't be.

Note: for scorekeepers.  Every time you fight with your wife and win, you erode the trust and closeness of the relationship, maybe just a little.  It's perhaps more immediately destructive in your relationship with your teen.  At work, it breaks down the team, and among friends, it undermines the safe place of being able to depend on each other.  Statistically speaking, the price is high.

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