Navigating Relationship Conflict

by admin on June 27, 2015

navigating-conflictIn most cases, conflict is simply “relationship-math” — the result of adding differences (those things that make each of us unique) and interdependence (reliance upon each other), both of which are inescapable in life. When the two are combined, conflict of some type is inevitable, particularly when you work and live with each other. For that reason, most of the conflict we experience in life stems from our relationships with others, be they temporary and informal relationships, or life-long and intimate.

These conflicts are typically driven by what is “wanted/expected” but missing, or what is present but “unwanted/unexpected” — the differences in how each of us communicates, make decisions and interprets our experiences, all creating conflict between what we have and what we want.

Regardless of whether the conflict we experience is with other individuals or within ourselves, the key to success is learning how to navigate through it effectively, rather than retreating from it or suppressing it (taking the path of independence).

The fear of not getting what we desire — due to other individual’s (or our own) shortcomings — leads us to the path of independence. The pain of being hurt or disappointed — due to other individual’s (or our own) failures — leads us to the path of independence.

However, the path of independence doesn’t get us to the destination(s) we truly desire in life.  We simply trade long-term benefit for short-term convenience.

Pursuit of desire in the context of independence generally leads to overindulgence, isolation and continued discontent, whereas pursuit of desire in the context of interdependence leads to shared satisfaction, meaningful accomplishment and lasting fulfillment.

Only interdependence — our individual styles and strengths being bound together by shared objectives/outcomes — allows us to work collaboratively to get what we want, but cannot accomplish, as individuals.

Unfortunately, the path of independence is taken more often than not in the name of eliminating or avoiding conflict.  Even those who are adept at resolving conflict will often choose to avoid it, preferring instead to take what is perceived to be the more “efficient” path of independence — while sacrificing opportunities for collaborative success in the process.

Ultimately, we must choose between not getting what we truly desire in long-term — by virtue of avoiding that which we fear or find uncomfortable — or actually getting what we desire by taking the more challenging path of interdependence.  And when you own/operate a business together, the later of the two options is really the only win-win solution.

Let’s give it a go!

~ David & Debby

David & Debby Pierpoint

David Pierpoint / Strategic, Futuristic, Intellection, Learner, Deliberative
Debby Pierpoint / Harmony, Developer, Empathy, Responsibility, Consistency

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