Updated: Apr 5, 2021
In our previous entry regarding this subject, we covered many areas of friendship, but today we will only discuss one aspect about relationships in general - Conflict.
That's right, we've all faced it head on. But I suppose even that statement has the potential to be false as well, as some of us are conflict-averse. Some personalities will do whatever it takes to avoid conflict with others. While that may work for a season, it could prove to be extremely unhealthy and even result in hurtful ramifications to your overall psyche and problem-solving skills in the future. I'm not here though to pick on the introvert or reclusive personality that may have these tendencies to evade direct communication about the "matter at hand," rather I'm here to point out how different I am to thee... And for the extroverted, conflict-crusher, be aware that the former person exists and has very real fears in regards to your strengths. This is possibly how a conflict may begin.
As this applies to couples, this is what Dr David Burns, psychiatrist has found: "Many couples I counsel aren’t interested in change,’ he claims. ‘They’re more interested in bashing each other’s heads in.’ The reason, he says, is that our egos compete with our ability to live harmoniously. Think of someone you don’t get along with. Now imagine you can press a button to transform your interaction into a close, caring and supportive friendship... Not many people do. Sometimes we just don’t want to get close to the person we’re at odds with," says Burns. But differences are not the most notorious aspects of any relationship that cause problems, disagreements, and conflict.
Think of the science of magnetism and how literally "polar" opposites attract. As we discussed in our first entry about relationships a couple of weeks ago, it doesn't matter how similar two people seem, you will always find an overflowing fount of differences between them spewing out the fluid conversations and connections that cause their acquaintance to flow into a strong current of friendship. However, many times, as the laws of magnetism infer, it is the pungent commonalities among friends and colleagues which can create a stink and a cloud of conflict begins to grow. A good conversation or activity that reveals a parallel interest might introduce an air of competition between the two, and to add insult to injury, if we're talking about two people who are inherently competitive, then the conflict is even more difficult to resolve - the law of magnetism is observed.
If you are not aware of this analogy of magnetism, allow me to explain. By nature, there are two poles, a north pole and a south pole; the power of these poles is harnessed in magnetic and electro-magnetic technology. At the simplest level, however, if you positioned two magnets facing each other north-south or south-north, then they would be forcefully attracted to one another. In another experiment if you position the north side of one magnet facing north side of the other, or south facing south, then the opposite reaction would occur - the magnets repulsively charging away from one another.
These laws of nature teach us a few things about ourselves. But what is most important about all of this is... Self-Awareness. If you know that you are innately competitive and that trait within yourself could easily sneak up in a relationship or friendship situation in such a way that might hurt the health and growth of that connection, then you might want to practice curbing that behavior. Reverting to a self-talk can be helpful, with a repetitive phrase, such as: "Winning this argument is not as important as our relationship" OR "it's just a game, and I don't have to win to have a fun experience with my friends here today."
Find out what it is that is haunting you in your friendships. Do you always have to have the last word? Maybe you're the opposite, you don't want to have the last word, in fact, you don't want to talk AT ALL!!! But your friend or partner just doesn't understand that part of you. You may need to take steps to explain this to them, but you also need to change.
Yes, I am sorry to tell you this, but the selfish idea that everyone needs to just love all your character flaws instead of trying to change you, if they TRULY love you, is completely wrong on both the moral and scientific premise. Doctors Pascale and Primavera state: "...make all sorts of exchanges to try to keep the relationship equitable. We may make certain personal sacrifices for the sake of our relationship and expect the same or similar kinds of sacrifices from our partner. When partners feel there is balance—that is, the amount we give is equal to what we receive—our relationship feels good. However, when one partner feels he or she gives more than is received, the perceived imbalance becomes a concern for the shorted partner, and that becomes a reason for a confrontation..." When it comes to any kind of relationship, BOTH sides must invest in the currency of their stability and growth. If there is ZERO investment, there will be ZERO withdrawal! If there is a LOW investment, then there will be a LOW withdrawal. (Check out this article on Relationship Currency by Tim Hall) Remember Self-Awareness, Remember Self-Talk, but for the sake of your relationships try to forget about Self from time to time. Thanks for reading!
Have a blessed week
Ramzi Elassadi - The Editor