Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fighting Style

Another arena in which you'll need to find compatibility is in your fighting style. I wrote about this recently. But let's review.

There are different appropriate ways to handle conflict. Some avoid it. Some confront it head on and are very emotionally expressive in these interactions. Others negotiate. None of these styles is bad or wrong. But mix an Avoider with a Debater, and you’ve got a disaster on your hands.

Avoiders/Yielders rarely come into conflict with each other. They do get annoyed with their partner’s behavior. And they do disagree with their partners on various issues. But, for the most part, none of these annoyances or disagreements is important enough for the annoyed partner to bother bringing it up. And as long as the annoyances really are not that big of a deal to the partner, this is a fine way to deal with conflict. It means that there is a lot that this couple doesn’t know about each other since they keep silent about a lot of things, but the relationship is fairly placid, and that’s what is preferable for these couples.

Other couples are Debaters. They have loud, emotionally expressive conflicts about almost everything that they could have a conflict about. They enjoy pushing each other and value letting it all hang out over having peace in the home. This couple knows a lot about each other and may be more intimate emotionally than other types of couples but run the risk of saying things in the heat of the argument that they wish they could take back and can not.

The Compromiser couple largely practice all the techniques that you are “supposed” to when in conflict. They listen. They acknowledge the feelings behind their partner’s words and they work out a compromise.Sometimes Compromisers end up giving up a lot of what they want as individuals for the benefit of the relationship.

How do you deal with conflict? You should know from the previous posts on fighting what kind of fighter you are, but if not, think over the last year of your life, both at work and in your personal life. How many outright conflicts have you had with anyone? If your only expressed conflicts were with your parents or siblings, you’re an Avoider. There’s simply no way that in the course of a year, a decision hasn’t been made at work that you utterly disagreed with. And there’s no way a friend didn’t do something that pissed you off or hurt your feelings. If you can think of an argument you had over the past year, how would you categorize it? You’re less likely to be a Debater in a work situation, even if you are a Debater in your personal life, so try to think of a conflict with a friend. Did you get emotional? Were you accusatory? You’re a Debater. Or did you think long and hard about what you wanted to say before you said it? Did you talk through ways to resolve the issue? Did you walk away from the conversation enlightened by what your friend had to say? You’re a Compromiser.

Up Next: But how can you tell what her style is?

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