More often than not, when we are not in good terms with someone, we either avoid the person or become too confrontational, but instead improving the situation, we are only making the situation worse than we think. We can still restore peace without worsening the conflict. We just need to be more proactive than reactive.
You may want to find out first why they are upset. Rather than asking them directly about the issue, you can ask indirect questions that will lead to discovering the real root cause of the issue. It is important to use an approach that appears like a regular conversation. Addressing the problem without being too confrontational can prevent tension and other ill-feelings toward the person.
Restoring peace may not be easy when you are already aware that a person is upset, but taking a few steps to resolving the conflict can help you bridge the gap.
I remember a time a few months ago when I was pulling into a gas station. All the gas pumps were busy so I simply pulled in and parked behind a car. There was a lady coming back from the store ready to start pumping gas. She seemed a bit angry and upset. She then looked towards me and appeared to have yelled something. I didn’t hear what she said because my windows were closed. I then opened the window and once again she yelled, but this time I heard her say “move the fu** back!” So I noticed she had parked too ahead of the pump and the hose couldn’t quite reach. I did feel a small rush of “anger” when she yelled at me but instead of answering back at her level I did this:
I reached into my pocket, and I pulled out a ten dollar bill. I went up to the lady and said, “I will give you this ten dollar bill, and all you have to do is give me a smile. But I want you to know one thing before you take it. Your smile is worth more than a million times this piece of paper, but that is for you to find out.”
She took the five dollar bill, apologized and mentioned how she was having money issues lately and the best part…she smiled.
Find out why they are upset
Before you can resolve conflicts and restore peace, you have to find out why the other person is upset with you. Only after finding why they are upset with you will you be able to get to the root cause of the issue.
And when you ask them why they’re upset, you have to decide whether you’re going to ask them directly or indirectly. If the person is someone who likes to hear things as they are and they don’t get offended easily, you should go ahead and ask them directly. But if they’re like most people, they would probably feel uncomfortable with such a confrontation and will view your inquiry as being negative in tone. That is why when restoring peace is your desired outcome, it’s usually a good idea to ask indirectly.
Here are some indirect ways of stating it:
* “You look like you have something on your mind. Is everything okay?”
* “Has something been bothering you lately?”
* “Are you okay today? You seem a little stressed.”
* “Is there something you want to talk about?”
The important thing to remember is to make your approach seem like it’s part of a regular conversation, that way they won’t feel like they have to go on the defensive and they’ll be more likely to open up to you. Being too direct can easily be viewed as confrontational and will likely cause them to build more resistance toward you. To move toward peace you need to avoid unnecessary resistance.
Moving toward peace and away from conflict
After you find out the reason they are upset, it’s a good idea to try and sympathize with what they are going through. This creates some common ground, builds trust, and decreases resistance.
If they feel like you did something wrong, find a way to apologize for your contribution to the problem. If they are off base, you don’t need to take responsibility for the whole problem, but you can apologize for anything you may have done to cause them to feel the way they do.
Learn more at: How to Resolve Conflicts and Restore Peace
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