When we are caught in an argument, it is easy to act defensively, and if both parties are acting in the heat of the moment, a resolution may be almost impossible. Why? Because both parties refuse to listen.

Hearing is a passive skill that does not require much thought, however, actively listening is an indispensable tool when it comes to handling conflicts. In a conflict situation, both parties want to feel that they are heard, and ideally understood.

Feeling that their thoughts and feelings are not perceived as valid by the other party will make the situation worse. By listening to the other person, you can de-escalate the tension, calm emotions, and hopefully, lead to a peaceful resolution.

Just like any other skill, we can develop our listening skills to help us become better listeners. There are different techniques that coaches and counselors make use of with their clients, and you don’t need to be an expert to apply these same techniques. You just need to practice doing these techniques so you can become a good listener and a better communicator. Here’s what you can do: Continue reading

We’ve all been in a situation where we have had to deal with a difficult person. It may be just a one-time moment, or it may be you have to deal with this person every day. Encounters with difficult people often lead to conflicts and emotional stress.

Whenever we deal with a person like this, our fear response is activated. We either fight back and defend ourselves or walk away. Ultimately there is a conflict that is either left unresolved, or worse, becomes escalated into a terrible situation of disagreement and bitterness.

It is never easy dealing with a difficult person, as conflict often goes hand in hand. However, there are ways in which we can take charge of the situation and not let petty fights spiral into bigger conflicts. We can de-escalate the tension and minimize confrontations with difficult people with effective communication, patience, and empathy. Continue reading