I came home last Sunday after being gone for four days to see the trash can overflowing and three empty pizza boxes sitting on the floor next to the can. This was the final straw for me. I took a picture and sent it to our roommate group chat with the caption, "We can do better than this." My wife and I live with my brother and his girlfriend and in my mind, I had been the only one cleaning the house since I moved in.
When they got home my little brother said, "We'd like to talk about this." And boy did we. It turns out each of us thought we were the only person who ever cleaned the house. Zach suggested a chore chart and I immediately rejected the idea, claiming I wasn't in kindergarten. It escalated into a blame game and eventually we left the kitchen, all frustrated, having reached no resolution.
30 minutes later Zach came into the living room and said what spurred me to write this post. He calmly looked at me and said, "Jason the reason we're frustrated now is not because the house isn't clean, it's because you aren't willing to find a solution."
Zach came home that night ready to embrace conflict whereas I was ready to start a fight. There's a difference. Every book on relationship management will tell you that conflict is a vital aspect of a healthy relationship. Fighting, however, is not. The difference is the end result. Are you looking to create progress in your current situation and resolve the issue or are you simply looking to raise your voice?
Next time you are heading towards a conflict in a relationship, the workplace, or with your team, ask yourself, "What is my desired end result?" Be sure you're approaching the conflict from a place of intended progress, not blind frustration.
What is one conflict you need to embrace that you have been avoiding?
“Do not think of knocking out another person's brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.” -Horace Mann