Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Steps to Healty Conflict Resolution

Wanting to tie in what I am learning as I work on becoming a counselor with my blog, I decided to start a segment that I was going to call, "Answers from a Professional," AFP for short.

Then I decided that I like it standing for "Anna for President!" better.

So, welcome to the first installment of AFP! (Anna for President!) where I shall share valuable and effective life advice.

A hot topic for the counseling world is conflict resolution. There are no set steps to healthy conflict resolution, so I have synthesized my own (mostly made-up)  five step list:

1. Take time to calm down and be able to speak from a place of logic and consideration for the other parties.

2. Be able to clearly state the problem and it's impact on you.

3. Hear the other parties thoughts and sides.

4. Brainstorm solutions, often times ones that are a happy compromise.

5. Make and implement an action plan.

But of course just having a list without an illustration is not helpful at all!

Let me set the stage. I was in college, it was 2 am, I was the designated driver in a car full of squawking, ridiculous drunk girls. Said group of girls just HAD to go to Whataburger on the way home.

Like an oasis in the desert
In their defense, it is open 24 hours, and after midnight they put chicken and honey butter on a biscuit.
Glorious

I digress.

Being the full-service driver that I am, we went to Whatburger. Trying to order at the drive through was a mess - "I want that thing with the chicken!" "I want a burger the size of my face!" "I want a number 4, no a number 5, no a number 4!" SQUAWK SQUAWK SQUAWK. Finally, everyone is appeased and I, at the end, order my cheeseburger.

Now understand, I am having ZERO fun at this point. I'm irritated. I'm tired. I'm hungry. I want a cheeseburger. I've EARNED a cheeseburger. All I am living for at the moment is that cheeseburger.

1. Take time to calm down and be able to speak from a place of logic and consideration for the other parties.

We pull up to pay, I've got my eye on the prize, this will all be worth it when I get that glorious cheeseburger. I pay and look at receipt and see that my burger is missing. SQUAWK SQUAWK SQUAWK. "EVERYONE SHUT UP!!!" Breathing deeply through my nose, with all the loud ladies now cowed into silence, I explain to the cashier that I need to pay for my cheeseburger that I added at the end of the order. She swipes my card and we pull up to the next window to get our food.

2. Be able to clearly state the problem and it's impact on you.

As I am grabbing our food, and the noise level is steadily rising in the car again, I look at the girl in the window and say, "is my burger that I paid separately for in here? I really must have this burger. Are you sure? The burger is in here?" Yes, yes, yes of course it is.

3. Hear the other parties thoughts and sides.

In a cloud of assurances from the girl that my burger is in the bag, I pull forward. I stop to hand out all of the food in hopes that it will have a sedative effect on my passengers. I get to the bottom of the bag. No cheeseburger.

4. Brainstorm solutions, often times ones that are a happy compromise.

No cheeseburger. I specifically ordered it. I paid for it separately. I made the lady at the window sign a blood oath that I had it. NO CHEESEBURGER. SQUAWK SQUAWK SQUAWK. I can't sit in the driver through line again with these people. I get out of the car. The front doors are locked. I NEED THAT CHEESEBURGER.

5. Make and implement an action plan.

Obviously, I have to walk up to the drive-through window. Obviously, there is another car there now. Obviously, that is not going to slow me down.

I climbed on top of the hood of the car, waved at the driver, wedged myself between the wall and car, and bang on the window screaming about my cheeseburger.

I got my cheeseburger. Because. Conflict resolution works when you follow my steps.

Need advice? Ask AFP! (Anna for President!) and it could be answered in my next segment!