Let’s see what’s going on for Maria.

From what Maria has said it is possible to look at the facts, the feeling and what is important from her point of view.

1. What are the facts?
What does Maria actually know?
  • She has been asked to work with Tim on a presentation
  • Maria and Tim need to speak in front of the class
What has she assumed?
  • Tim will get mad at her if she asks him to repeat things for her
  • All his suggestions must be good, because he is a good student
What evidence does she have?
  • Maria may have experience working in groups before or she may know Tim in a social setting
  • Maria may have instructions from the lecturer

Could anyone else have other information that might change things?

Remember: the lecturer or other people involved may interpret the same information differently based on their own particular personality and experiences.

  • What information might Tim have?
  • What information might her lecturer have?
  • Is there anyone else relevant to the situation that may have information? (Tutor, student administration staff, head of school, library staff, etc.)
2. What is Maria feeling?
  • Maria is nervous about speaking in front of the class, this is her first thought and the only thing she can think about at the moment.
  • She feels confused after the conversation as she didn’t really understand everything Tim was saying.
3. What’s really important?

Sometimes people get focused on a particular outcome and don’t realise that it is not actually the most important thing to them. A useful question to ask is “why do I want this particular outcome?”

Maria is nervous about the presentation and is currently preoccupied with these thoughts. She feels that Tim does not want to listen to the ideas or suggestions she might have, instead he is making all the decisions about the presentation which is making her feel upset and awful. Reflecting on why she feels like this might help Maria better understand what she wants and what’s really important to her in this situation.

Maria might explain to us that the reason she is feeling nervous is because:

  • She doesn’t like public speaking
  • She struggles with the language barrier at times and likes to feel prepared and well-rehearsed before any presentation
  • She likes to have a lot of knowledge and understanding around any topic she is working on and is expected to deliver a presentation about
  • She needs to do well and achieve good grades to maintain her scholarship

If Maria takes some time to really think about what is important to her she may be able to make a more informed decision about what to do next. This resource sheet can help you get clearer about what’s going on? in your particular conflict.