18 September 2007

Learn to resolve issues quickly before they get out of hand.

In a past relationship, my wife at the time and I were having some problems – we would have a fight and it would last for days. Both of us would dish out the silent treatment, often forgetting the reason for the fight in the first place. Of course I always thought I was right and Carolyne always thought she was right. Not a very good way to resolve an argument.

We sought the help of psychiatrist to help us work through this particular issue. He was walked us through the entire argument process and explained why neither of would want to back down or surrender but he taught us how to do it and the results were quite miraculous and I have tried to use this system in all aspects of my life.

The key is that one party needs to apologise first and fast – even if you are not the one in the “wrong”. Now this can be tough to do, but believe me it gets easier the more often you do. So Carolyne and I would have a fight and we kind of took it in turns being the first one to apologise – normally within minutes. What happened then was that we could actually talk about whatever the issue was in a calm and loving way, rather than letting the anger build and then blurting out hurtful things at each other.

The same principle applies in any kind of relationship and it certainly doesn’t have to apply exclusively to the world of intimate relationships. If we let things stew and build, we rarely tend to explode rather than explain. It is much better to raise an issue early, as soon as it appears. Don’t necessarily apply blame – put the issue out there first and then work together for ways to resolve it. It really does work.

A lot of stress and angst results in a sense of not being able to express how we are feeling. It only gets worse over time. We need to be able to have open and honest dialogue and this can only open when we act quickly and unemotionally. A much better option than going on a tirade after a few drinks at the Christmas Party because we have reached boiling point.

Whilst my marriage didn’t last, both Carolyne and I are very close friends to this day and we both talk often about this diffusing process and the way it makes our lives and our relationships better.

Have you got issues with someone close to you that are building? Does this stress you out and add to an overall sense of dissatisfaction in life? Diffuse the situation today before it gets any worse. Sit down with the person and talk about the issues as you see them and try and work through a way to resolve them and move on with your life.

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