Conflict Resolution for ‘Fraidy Cats

Confrontation can be terrifying for many girls, and avoidance is usually the go-to tactic. Unfortunately, by avoiding the issue girls suffer in more ways than one:

  1. They don’t learn how to honor and articulate their truth
  2. They harbor grudges and negative feelings
  3. Their unmet needs don’t disappear, but resurface in other acting out behaviors
  4. They fail to develop critical interpersonal skills

The H.E.A.L. Method is my 4-step guide to resolving conflicts with poise and integrity.  I encourage girls, or parents for that matter, to use this method as a precursor to a face-to-face confrontation. By taking the time to think through a confrontation first, a girl is likely to be much more effective in achieving the desired outcome and getting her needs met.

            H- Halt! Take a second, take a minute, or take a whole day to think before you act. Emotions run high when we’re upset and impulsivity NEVER helps to heal a conflict. Take the time to think through your next move: what is the conflict really about? What do you want to say? When and where would be the most effective time to talk?

E- Explain. Calmly explain why you’re upset or hurt. Be as specific as possible. Use “I statements” in order to express your feelings:

Example: I feel confused and hurt when you are nice to me outside of school but exclude me at lunch. Yesterday I asked you to save me a seat but you didn’t.

A- Accept, Acknowledge and Ask. Accept responsibility for where you have contributed to the conflict. Acknowledge the other person’s feelings through verbal confirmation. (For Example: “I understand where you’re coming from.”) Ask for what YOU need– what needs to change in order for you to feel satisfied and complete?

L- Lock and Let go. Decide how you want to proceed with your friendship. Do you want to lock it in and let go of the conflict? Or do you want to lock it out and let go of the relationship? (You may need to decide this after you speak to the person.)

Next time you need to confront someone, try using the H.E.A.L. method! You’re sure to walk away feeling dignified and complete.

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