Communication is a cornerstone of positive relationships. For men recently divorced or in the process of divorcing, effective communication is essential for recovering from your divorce. If you are coping with the end of your marriage, you are likely no stranger to conflict.
Moving from Reacting to Responding
For many men, dealing with conflict in a constructive and positive way can be a challenge—especially if you have a particularly difficult ex. The difference between reacting and responding can be distilled down to perspective—or how you view the conflict.
Reacting To Conflict
Reacting to conflict is driven by emotion and creates an oppositional force that can escalate a situation into a heated and unproductive state.
Responding To Conflict
On the other hand, responding to conflict is a method that allows a man to navigate circumstances with logic, control and efficiency.
A recent article posted on The Good Men Project, by Steve Horsmon, provided some tactics for proactively addressing conflict and shifting communication from reacting to responding.
How To Handle Conflict Like A Mature Adult
The following are paraphrased from Horsmon’s article “Building More Intimacy: Handling Conflict Like a Man”:
- Calmly face conflict head-on. Respond like an adult; don’t flee the situation and don’t react like a teenager. Make eye contact and actively listen. Be comfortable and confident.
- Treat the conflict as important and valid. And verbalize this, but don’t minimize the other person’s feelings or point of view.
- Be clear on where you stand. Don’t pretend to agree if you don’t concur. Without defensiveness or judgment, state your case clearly and without apology. Be authentic and speaks from a place respect.
- Discuss options to address the issue and accept responsibility for your part in the solution. Don’t accept undeserved blame or personal attacks. Be able to show anger and emotion without throwing a tantrum or making personal attacks. Don’t initiate disrespectful behavior or language and don’t accept it from anyone.
Effective communication isn’t an inherent trait–it is something that takes practice and work to develop. But once those skills are established they will enable you to stop reacting and start responding.