Conflict itself is not a bad thing. Conflict is merely a coming together of ideas and opinions that creates the opportunity for growth, repair and new ideas. Given we are all unique individuals with different experiences and capabilities, we will inevitably have conflict.; it's just a question of how we go about it. We can do it respectfully and in a connecting way, or we can do it aggressively in a way that pits us against each other. When we see what we interpret as an opposing idea or need, we can feel threatened, especially when we anticipate the possibility of being hurt, be it emotionally or physically. In terms of communication, the reactive responses can be described as criticism, put downs, belittling, shaming language or aggressive tactics that make engaging in dialogue feel risky and abusive.
Connecting language or as John Gottman calls it "soft start up" means communicating in compassionate ways; without aggressive body language or harsh tones or volume; using the "I feel" statements rather than doing the "You" blaming statements; being curious by asking open ended questions and thinking in terms of "if no one is to blame, what is the problem?". Connecting language is using empathetic responses such as "it must be frustrating for you when..." "you must be disappointed when ..." Connecting language means being interested and curious as to the other persons perceptions of the problem and what it is they need and listening without defensiveness or judgement. (more to come on problem solving)
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!