Conflict Resolution – isn’t it all about the way we deal with others?
It seems to me there are four main conversation styles when it comes to dealing with others, particularly conflict resolution but does it really matter which style we adopt? I prefer to aim towards assertive behavior myself but what do you think?
Here’s a summary of the different types:-
Passive Behavior- If something happens in your life and you’re too afraid to say to that other person what you think, this is passive behavior. That’s an implicit way of saying you are less than the other person and the other person will realize it too. If you go along with this you’ll have less self confidence because you’ll feel bad about yourself.
So often a passive person doesn’t really feel they have the right to speak up as another person violates more and more of their rights. They value the other person over themselves and in effect become a doormat. A passive person feels others always win and they lose and this type of behavior often leads to panic attacks or resentment. The message they are giving out is ‘I don’t matter’.
Aggressive Behavior– This is the type of person who has to win and prefer you to lose and they often have an exaggerated sense of their own entitlement. They’re easily spotted when they write and speak because their sentences usually start with the word ‘you’ when they deal with others. The reason being they don’t ‘own’ their own feelings/actions and don’t usually feel accountable but tend to blame other people. This is the way they try to stay in control of their own lives, it was the other person’s fault anyway so let them deal with the consequences.
The aggressive person seems to have lots of self confidence but underneath their brash exterior hides strong feelings of powerlessness. To bolster themselves up they swear and swagger through the conversation but underneath they know they are really as powerless and helpless as the passive person because when other people finally get sick of their behavior and stand up to them, their life spins out of control. None of us have the right to violate boundaries of others (what we’ll put up with). This is the type likely to be very harmful to others because their motto is ‘You don’t matter’.
Passive-Aggressive Behavior – Here we have the typical martyr-type complex. This is the type of person who’s always complaining about others behind their backs rather than speaking their minds. They are the classic sniper. They’re not sure enough of where they stand in relation to other people so they tend to control by subtle manipulation. They often function as victims through learned helplessness.
Because they don’t know themselves, their boundaries are always changing and so know one else knows where they stand either. This is the type who will deal with the consequences of their actions but will make others pay for it. For the passive-aggressive type it feels like no-one wins and while they may be a doormat they just can’t stop complaining about it. Their motto is ‘I don’t know what matters’.
Assertive Behavior – The key to being assertive is to let others know how we think and feel without harming anyone and therefore there’s nothing vague about us. If you’re assertive you teach others how to deal with you and that’s very important. Other people know where they stand. We look for win/win situations, where possible in all our dealings with others. That’s it in a nutshell.
An assertive person doesn’t feel the need to control others, only themselves, so they’re mature enough to take responsibility for their own behavior and you won’t find them playing the ‘blame game’. When in conflict with others they’ll respect the boundaries of others but only because they have strong boundaries themselves and can express them clearly.
Being assertive means we are aware of our own strengths and weakness and are prepared to be honest about them, there isn’t any need to conceal or manipulate because we feel in control of our own lives. When you first start being assertive some people may seem surprised and you may lose those that didn’t really like you. If you’re assertive you’re part of the group but you don’t care so much what others think of you.
Oh, but Peggotty, you haven't given Mr. Barkis his proper answer, you know.