Do you avoid confrontation? Many people I know would rather do almost anything than openly discuss a serious disagreement. Others may stand up for themselves and their beliefs, but they feel frustrated because they don’t feel that they can ever win.

If you fit into either group you probably feel hurt, because you feel someone who is important to you does not understand you.

When I was coaching Kim (not her real name), she felt so angry about her relationship with her business partner that she was ready to abandon the business they had spent several years building.

Kim had reached the conclusion that her partner was deliberately leaving the most difficult tasks for Kim to do alone, even though their agreement was to share those activities. When Kim repeatedly tried to discuss the problem, her partner changed the subject.

I asked Kim to tell me what she thought her partner’s point of view might be. “She wants to do things her own way,” was Kim’s first answer. Then I asked Kim to think of three other possible reasons for her partner’s behavior.

The first was “She is focusing so hard on her part of the business that she is afraid to tell me she needs to renegotiate our roles.” The second was “Maybe she doesn’t really understand what I am upset about.” The third was “Maybe she is angry with me, because I’ve been too busy to spend as much time with her as I used to.” These all seemed plausible explanations for the problem.

Kim decided to ask her partner whether any of the three new explanations were accurate — without accusing her partner of doing anything wrong. They successfully renegotiated their roles and continued to work together.

If you are avoiding an important discussion, because you are convinced that the other person won’t hear you, try imagining possible reasons for the other person’s behavior. Then have the discussion.

Is this you? “I don’t need therapy, but I could use some advice about…”

[tags]Communication, Personal Growth, Relationships, Self Help, Self-Improvement, Workplace Relationships[/tags]