Relationship Advice:  How to Deal with Conflict Through Prevention

relationship conflictA common area of relationship advice concerns how to deal with conflict that inevitably occurs in relationships. The best way to deal with it is to not let it happen to start with. The secret is to assume that the other person who has not behaved as you expected has a positive or at least a neutral intent. An example might be if that your significant other has not done something that was promised, say by not showing up at a prearranged spot for a date such as a restaurant of a theater. There are two ways to react to this situation.

The first and natural reaction is to assume that the other person stood you up, maybe because he or she wants to dump you and lacks the courage to tell that to you in person.

The second and perhaps more difficult reaction is to wonder what happened that prevented your boyfriend or girlfriend from showing up. Was he or she caught by a last minute thing at work? Was there some sort of accident, medical emergency, or family trouble? A quick call on the cell phone might confirm this or not depending on the severity of the situation.

You can see the different outcomes the two reactions would cause. In the first instance, assuming that the other person has ill intent, will lead to unnecessary drama, with accusations, raised voices, and conflict. The second reaction, that assumed that the other person had a good reason for failing to show up on that date, will likely lead to apologies, understanding, and an opportunity to do better next time.

In short, not assuming the worse when something unpleasant and unexpected happens will more often than not stop unnecessary relationship conflict before it starts.

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