Sometimes having a conversation about conflict can be difficult, especially when you still need to live nearby (the case with Ashley and John). It’s important to think about things like timing and location before having a conversation, as they can impact how well the conversation goes.

Let’s see what happens when Ashley tries to have a conversation but the timing isn’t right for John.

This kind of quick attempt to resolve a conflict can be frustrating for both people involved. In this case John may feel pressured into having a conversation when he wants to be out with his friends. At the same time Ashley is feeling upset because he’s not taking her concerns about the noise seriously.

It is important to consider the timing of your conversation, and if you’re not sure when a good time to talk would be – ask. You can always have an initial conversation to set a time to have a more in depth conversation about what’s going on.

Let’s have a look at another example where Ashley raises her concerns informally but hasn’t really thought about what she was going to say.

In this example Ashley has approached John when they are both home from uni and are in their rooms. Because she hasn’t really thought through what she was going to say, Ashley comes across as hostile. John responds in shock, acts defensively and responds negatively. This isn’t the outcome Ashley or John want and is unlikely to help the situation.

What’s missing in this example is a calm discussion that allows both people to explain their perspective. While Ashley may be clear about what’s going on for her in some ways, her delivery was so abrupt that John is still unsure:

  • What has happened
  • What is really important to her
  • What she is feeling

Thinking ahead and making a plan can help you prepare what you want to say and how you might like to get your message across.

In the next video, Ashley has thought about what is really important to her and is hoping to get that point across to John. She’s thought about how she is going to address the issue and also considered points that John might bring up.

Planned conversation 1:

In this planned conversation they were able to schedule a time to chat and come up with a solution that while not perfect, is certainly workable for them both.

Planned conversation 2:

Both these conversations go well, both Ashley and John are feeling comfortable to share their perspectives, no more hostility:

  • Their conversation is more conversational
  • Their body language is more relaxed
  • They are more open to hearing the other person’s point of view

Ashely has also listened to John’s perspective and acknowledged his feelings and his point of view. It is clear that Ash has also thought about how she could get her message across and articulate her issues with the noise in a way that John would be willing to listen to. In this example Ashley does not get overly emotional, make demands, attack or blame John. These kinds of conversations seem likely to contribute to resolving the conflict, and also maintain the friendship between Ash and John because they both have a deeper understanding of each other’s perspectives.

In the second example, the process of the conversation reveals an option that possibly neither of them would have come up with on their own. Talking the problem through together was useful to brainstorm new ideas for solutions that ended up being a good option for both of them.

In these examples Ash was happy to have a conversation with John on her own. Sometimes you might decide that’s not the best option for you or you may try to have a conversation and it doesn’t work out well. There are always other options available, including seeking assistance.