Keep the Conflict in the Present!

Have you ever been involved in the following situation:

You: “Honey, why didn’t you take out the trash like I asked you to?”

Your partner: “Well dear, last month when I asked you not to wear shoes in the house, why do you keep doing it?!?!”

If you replace “taking out the trash” with “clearing tickets in the system”, and “entering the house with shoes” with “assigning tasks at the last minute” – it is clear that even if you have a normal, calm and happy family life, this does not mean that you also have one at work with your colleagues…


Why do they give you counterarguments from the past?


⚠️ Keep in mind if you have a history with this person – this is a factor that affects how you’ll resolve your conflict.

They can give you counterarguments from the past for one of two reasons:

  • To put more weight on their arguments.
  • To distract you from the conflict you have *now* because they don’t want to argue about the current problem.

Okay, but there is still something very important that you have control over – how you react when the other person gives you an argument from the past.


How to react?


⚠️ Keep in mind if tensions and emotions are high  wait for the emotions to subside or try to calm the atmosphere first.

1️⃣ Keep the focus on your current point of conflict

It’s quite common to split the argument in two. If the conflict moves to speaking about past or future situations – there is a high probability that you will not resolve the conflict you have *now*!
(you will even create new points of conflict… )

2️⃣ “Park” the past and future points of conflict

Don’t ignore the other person’s arguments and don’t “shoot them down”

Listen to them calmly

Share that you understand they are important to discuss

Offer to discuss them later in a separate conversation after you resolve this conflict you have *now*.

3️⃣ After solving the present problem, take time to discuss past / future points of conflict

You can discuss them immediately or plan them for another time. It depends on the situation – how much time and emotions you spent resolving the present problem.


To summarize:

Don’t forget to make sure that you and your partner in the conflict have been talking about the problem *now*!

Make sure you are on the same conflict line.

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