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  • Kimberly Paige

Are You Avoiding Confrontation?

Have you ever noticed that the price of avoiding confrontation is almost always CONFRONTATION? I know that confrontation can be scary, but avoiding it just leads to bigger problems.

Avoiding confrontation makes mountains out of molehills.

Part of the fear around confrontation stems from the way that we think about it. Confrontation is defined as "a hostile or argumentative meeting or situation between opposing parties". It's synonyms include words like conflict, clash, and battle. Yep, not many people looking forward to confrontation when it's looked at in that way.

But what is confrontation, really? To me it's about telling the truth and addressing issues head on. In fact, the word confrontation stems from the Latin words for "together" and "forehead" perhaps best translated as "to come face to face".

Confrontation can absolutely be approached with kindness and compassion. And confrontation can actually be a means of connecting to another person and deepening the relationship.

There are things that you can do to make confrontation both easier on yourself and easier on the person that you are confronting. Consider the following:

  • Don't wait for the little problem to become a big problem. It's much easier to address a problem early on.

  • While addressing an issue as it's happening or immediately afterward is ideal, you do want to be coming from a calm and centered place. Do what you need to do to take care of your own emotional state before starting a difficult conversation.

  • If possible have the conversation in person (face to face) rather than by email or text.

  • Do your best to address the problem as you see it without attacking the person.

  • Do your best to stick to observable facts without making assumptions about the other person's motive or character.

  • Listen to what the other person has to say and allow them to explain their position fully.

  • Seek a solution that will work for all parties involved.

Difficult conversations and healthy, non-hostile confrontations are a part of honest and effective communication. These types of confrontations frequently strengthen relationships rather than weaken or damage them.

I know that doesn't entirely alleviate the fear around having them, but remember:

When we choose not to confront someone else when their behavior is upsetting us, we aren't letting it go. It's festering in our minds. The issue (the elephant) continues to get bigger as we refuse to talk about it.

There's an elephant in the room...let's talk about it.

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