Being quiet in conflict is a challenge but if you master this art in the communication you may learn a very valuable tool.
Getting involved in an argument is rarely beneficial. However, sometimes there are matters which need to be discussed in which emotions become elevated. The natural position for most people is to push back against those they are opposed to. I certainly get the sentiment, however here’s an alternative that you might like to employ.
The following is an adaptation from a blog I wrote several years ago. It still rings true today.
#1 — You can’t listen while you’re talking
Listening is so much more than hearing words. It’s an observation of intent, mannerisms, inflection and emotion that are all being bought into the conversation. Learning through observation is a far better tool that having to prove your point of view.
#2 — You may not be right
Unimaginable, I know but both of you can’t be right. Perhaps you can leave room for the fact that maybe it’s not you this time. And if you are right, then it will prove itself in time so be patient. A point about avoiding conflict that I would like to make here is that even if you are right, so what? Apart from ego, does it really help you to prove you are right?
#3 — You can learn a lot from listening
Giving someone space to speak can be really powerful for both of you to avoid conflict. You can both learn from this experience and I often find that people can resolve their own issues, just by being heard. And there is a gift here for you if you watch for it, but you may get a sense of what it is that is frustrating them if you give them space. It’s better to understand than need to be understood.
#4 — You will create space for compassion
This one is a favorite of mine. If you can be silent enough to hear someone else’s story and to view the world through their eyes you will start to see that their path and their experiences were different to yours. You don’t have to agree with their version but compassion opens the door to understanding.
#5 — It gives you time to think instead of reacting
Really, if you can start to handle this one your communication problems will be a thing of the past, and all because you were quiet for a while. Often we will retort with a comment that we might later regret or realise not to be based on anything other than our own hurt. So we project our own pain instead of hearing someone else’s. If we allow time to absorb what the other has said and then come up with a rational response it will make things way smoother for both of you.
The art of being quiet in conflict is communication skills, but it’s rooted in a willingness to resolve the issue in front of you. Always keep the children in focus. Their love for you both is greater than any argument.
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