Tag Archives: dispute resolution

My boyfriend and I are always fighting . . .

More on therapeutic dispute resolution technics…. (First go LIKE us on FACEBOOK)

To begin with you need to start listening. What do I mean by listening? Stop planning what you are going to say next and really think about what the other person is saying. Put yourself in their shoes and think about how you would feel if you were in that same position. Try to see through their lenses (based on their past and their desires for the future).

Once they are done sit back and give yourself some time to process what they said. And then restate in your own words what you think was being said. Summarize the key points of the dispute: “It seems to me that you are saying that we do not communicate enough and that I seem to want to spend time with my friends more than with you.”

This is called restating the problem. They may correct you and don’t get upset if they do. “No I’m not saying that at all!!! I’m saying you don’t know HOW to communicate with me because your too busy with your friends all the time!” Not much different but important in the other person’s eyes. Don’t ever contradict or argue.

Now you need to find some humility. Admit that there is some truth in what they say. Because no matter how perfect you are you can always improve. “I understand where you are coming from. I don’t always pay good attention to you when you talk and I do spend a lot of time with some of my friends.” Even if you feel that there is no truth at all in the accusation try to find something you agree on. “Your right, I could certainly grow in my communication skills and I need the reminder to put you first.”

Also acknowledge their feelings of hurt or anger. Don’t ignore these feelings that they have to you or discredit them. “Is it fair to say that this makes you angry and frustrated with me?”

Once you are on the same page with the offended part of the dispute, you can express your own feelings. You may see the truth that they are presenting but whenever this subject is brought up you shut down because you feel personally attacked. “When you talk to me like this I understand where you are coming from but I feel you have something personally against me and it makes me want to shut down. It’s not that I don’t hear what you are saying but when you raise your voice I feel belittled.”

Sometimes the thing that makes us most angry in a dispute with our significant other is the way they say things. So express how you feel in an understanding way. Acknowledge the truth but also address your feelings.

Finally, you need to ask how you can improve and change what is bothering them. Ask the other person what they would like to see you do differently. “How can I show you that I really want to hear what you are saying? How can I spend more quality time with you and make you feel like you are just as important as my friends are?” Don’t be tempted to simply offer your own solution. If the other person asks you can give you opinion or if they crossed a personal boundary (badmouthing you in front of others for example) you should address that. “I really want to change in those areas you mentioned. If you could take me aside in private instead of badmouthing me to my friends I think I would be more receptive to what you are saying.”

Good luck!

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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in James


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REAL Men Remain Calm

Ever listened to a guy freak out because things aren’t going his way with a girl? “I just don’t understand why I can’t get a girlfriend!” What? Why do you need one in the first place?

Or how about the guy who freaks out and swears at the video game when he fails or cusses out the TV when his team loses? What about the guy who’s palms are sweaty and knees are knocking as he approaches a girl to ask her out? We’ve all been that guy before I’m sure.

One characteristic of a REAL man that I didn’t put in my 10 points on How to be a Real man or in my Leadership discussion, is he remains calm and collected in all circumstances. The idea is that regardless of whether things go the way he expects or hopes them to or not he will remain in control of his emotions.

Disclaimer: I’m not advocating a jaded, emotionless man. You should know from many of the other posts that feeling and empathizing are essential. Emotionless men are boys who are too scared to admit they have feelings (and often on steroids).

So let’s look at a couple instances of remaining calm. Let’s say that you go out with a girl and while you are out another guy at the bar starts to hit on her. An insecure guy would try to pull her away from the situation. Or he might distract her. Later on he’s let out a rant about that guy being a jerk or a loser and how he couldn’t stand guys who don’t show respect. But the real man remains calm. He realizes the girl went out with him not bar dude. He may lean back in his chair with a chill smile and enjoy the entertainment. After all if the girl leaves him he didn’t lose much. But chances are she won’t and they can both laugh about it later.

Here’s another one. Adult boy’s girlfriend comes to him freaking out about something he did. “You’re not a gentleman; you don’t open my door or pull out my chair. Don’t you see how that other guy is being so much more of a man than you?” Adult boy becomes defensive. “Do you see all I do for you? I bought you that dress you’re wearing and dinner tonight! I put up with eating at this stupid restaurant and suck up to you every chance I get”. To which she responds “exactly, that’s my point, you ‘put up with me’. I don’t want to just be some girl you tolerate!”

You get the point. What does a real man do? He sits back and listens. If it’s something that holds weight he may try a therapeutic dispute resolution technic:

  1. restate the problem in your own words
  2. agree with the parts that you find true because there is always an element of truth in every accusation
  3. express your feelings about the way the subject was approached
  4. suggest or ask an appropriate change in action).

However, it could be she has something else underlying the issue (her boss didn’t appreciate her at work, her girlfriend gossiped behind her back) and it has nothing to do with you. If you can calmly determine you’re not in the wrong then just listen. And then move on.

Real men don’t react. They act. Calmly and purposefully.

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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in James


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