You cannot plan for timing | 3 lessons in handling conflict now

You know the drill. Deadlines upon you, holidays approaching, weight loss goals are either moving not fast enough or not at all and the world keeps spinning faster. Then, BAM!

The most unpredictable, unexpected happens. It has been a few months since I’ve blogged. No good excuse. I’ve just been embracing life more. But I realized some of my life experiences can help others. Most recently, these moments of conflict.

People hate challenges and conflict. They make us uncomfortable, can hurt and cause even more struggles if we fall into the “self-fulfilling prophecy’ mindset that things will just get “worse”. This isn’t always the case. But, with things like relationship issues, health troubles, traffic jams or worse… someone experiences assault, harassment or passes away, it is tough.

These are the captivating moments in life that take our breath away. We cannot control them. We cannot plan for the timing. Sometimes, we cannot even prepare a response with perfect timing.


They impact everyone differently, depending on his or her fight or flight internal preference. For me, it is typically flight. Over the years, I have tried to change that. However, depending on the circumstance, that is my usual tendency. But with time, experience and maturity, I’ve learned to handle things differently. Even with gut-wrenching pains, conflicts can be managed. How? Allow me to share three lessons I’ve learned in handling conflict in the now.

1. Do not try to control the other person. Instead, listen to what they are saying and determine his or her need.

I recall one of the toughest sales calls I ever made in Grand Island, Nebraska. My customer was livid about some failed sales attempts, inaccurate data sets and difficulty working with customer service. I was his sounding board. Fowl language flew from his mouth and splattered onto my emotionally vulnerable state.

Strong Sweet Caroline | Conflict Management

After hearing all that he said, I had to take a few breaths and compose myself. How do you react to all that negative energy? Slowly and carefully. What was the person ACTUALLY SAYING?

If you can figure that out, you will be able to identify the real missing need.

2. After fully listening, pause, process and proceed to more questions.

If you are like me, sometimes the first hit can be a lot to digest. The first time I had a critical conversation with David about an area of growth in our relationship, it was hard to fully hear and understand.

When you think everything is going “fine” for you, it might not be the same for another person. Because I care so deeply for him, I made the decision to work harder and understanding his needs. Therefore, I let him talk.

Strong Sweet Caroline | Conflict Management

When he was done, I paused, processed and asked deeper questions. “How long has he been feeling this way?” “What might have influenced this decision?” “What things do you feel I can work on to improve the situation?”

It was not easy. I’m a fairly emotional person. But by asking more questions like this, it can help you and the other person or business feel more comfortable in understanding one another.

This is not just for intimate relationships, but any relationship. Put the other party first and show you care. This will bring more respect and ability to proceed with improved trust and support.

3. Decide how to act and do it.

Many time-sensitive and critical decisions make you feel like you should spend more time on them. And I’ll admit, they should take more of your energy. However, I caution not to take too much time just thinking about solutions.

The needs have been identified by asking questions and asking more questions. Now, you can evaluate solutions and act NOW. I have some friends who have experienced tough situations that built anxiety and fear. The longer they held on to that and did not act, the more miserable or even depressed they became. Your health and happiness cannot afford that. Neither can that of the other party.

Take one step at a time. No matter how small, the little actions matter. Try each day and see the results. Some steps might work, others you might need to adjust. That is OK. The action is most important!

Strong Sweet Caroline | Conflict Management

As you take these three steps, remember that the best things in life do not come easy. These are character-building moments. Cherish them. The pursuit is happiness! 🙂 Let me know how these go for you and if I can help.


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