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ED Hell
Good Practice in Confronting
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Good Practice in Confronting

As confrontation is part of our everyday lives, I thought it might be useful to add a section on it here.  Confrontation is never easy, but if you start out with certain things to consider in mind, it can have a more lasting, and beneficial result.  My experience has been when two people are willing to consider each other's point of view, it can actually bring the people in the relationship closer together.

 
Points to consider:
 
  • Engaging level - attentive (back/forward in seat)
  • Non-aggressive
  • Actively listen to what is really going on
  • Looking inward
  • Open to confrontation back
  • Needs, but without blocking another persons needs
  • Assess situation
  • Timing
  • Preparation
  • Clarity
  • Tone, approach and body language
  • Have respect
  • I versus you
  • Be aware of consequences
  • Personalise it - how would you feel if...
  • Language (never use the buzz words that you have learnt through your own counselling process)
  • Positive versus negative
  • Venue and method
  • Open
  • Assertive versus aggressive

 

Characteristics of Effective Confrontation

  • Empathy
  • Timing
  • Relatedness
  • Concise
  • Authentic
  • Tentative

Also:

  • A deliberate attempt to help another person examine the consequences of some aspect of their behaviour.
  • Do not confront another person if you do not intend to increase your involvement with that person.

To clarify some further points to consider:

  • Only current issues should be addressed.  Past issues should not be raised because you would/could not deal with them at the time, unless they relate to the issue in hand.  Even then, no more than one or two of these should be used, as emotions for both parties are already on edge.
  • From the time the issue arises, confrontation should always be done as quickly as possible.  By putting it off, can only allow any feelings to fester inside.
  • Be willing to listen to the other person's perspective, and not use their perspective as ammunition, just because you are not willing to consider he/she might have a point.
  • Neutral environment - this will avoid any party having a higher positon on the outset.  This will aid in starting out on an even keel.
  • Never address things by text, telephone or e-mail.  This will always end in disaster.  Naturally, use these means to arrange an appointment, but never by text.  Keep what you say to make the appointment simple, such as "there are a few things I would like to talk to you about, things I feel would be important for us to discuss in regards to our relationship, would you be free to meet say at x on Monday?"
  • Any solution that is come to should end up in being an equal partnership.
  • The balance of give and take should be considered.
  • Sometimes it might be useful to ask the person to meet in a few days time, after they have had time to consider what was said, and if there is anything that is left unsaid, or things that don't sit right, these can be reassessed.
  • Sarcasm should never be used.

It is also worth noting that confrontation is not always the best solution.  If people are moving on in different directions, confrontation will always have a negative impact.  Sometimes when people are moving on, it can be easy to see things that are not really there.  It is always important to note, that what brought the two of you together were your similarities - whether that be through similar personality styles, interests etc, these are the very things that can be attacked.

For me personally, as I have a gift to be able to see the other person's point-of-view, it can (and has done) have the impact of me forgetting what my own needs are.  Now when someone says something I have a red flag in my mind, to remind me to consider my own needs in this situation.  I also, no longer trust people with charm, as I have been hurt by such people too often in the past.  This has helped me spot a characteristic with a work colleague.  When I first started my current job, I felt she was too sweet to be pure, and this instinct turned out to be correct.  Through conflict resolution I have lost part of my identity, which is sad.  I am now a lot more sceptical about trusting people, especially those with charm.  I have learnt the hard way that people with charm, strike hardest...