Fight or flight. Adrenaline’s pumping. You’ve been pushed and you’re ready to push back.
Remember to ask yourself one question!
It’s a question we forget about all the time, but it’s what really matters to you in a conflict. We have a tendency to make knee jerk decisions before we stop and think. And even if we do take time to think, we tend to base our decisions on what would feel good. Running away, lashing back out, proving a point, putting someone in their place, taking a stand, not backing down. Sometimes when we make decisions that feel good–that our fight or flight instincts tell us to make–we later regret those decisions. We didn’t stop to really think about the one thing that mattered:
What do you want out of this situation?
It seems so simple. And it is. But we get stubborn. We get scared. We get angry. We get vindictive. We get tired. We get embarrassed.
Especially we get stubborn. A lot of the moves we make in conflict tend to be moves we don’t really want to make, that will get us to a place we don’t really want to be, just because we’ve been pushed and we don’t like it. . . . “Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.” – Aubrey de Grey
So before you burn a bridge, turn tail and run, or stubbornly refuse to compromise–ask yourself: What do you ACTUALLY want out of this situation?
Sometimes the way to get the thing you actually want is through boring, unimpressive, unflashy communication. Sometimes getting what you want will mean not doing conflict the fun way, the feel good way, or the badass way.
So when in conflict, STOP–before you do something you’ll regret–and ask yourself: What outcome do I ACTUALLY hope to arrive at? What do I really want out of this situation?
And then focus on that. Not winning. Not proving a point. Not defending yourself. Just on that—the outcome you want.