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The Art Of Getting Along

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Chances are that you do not like contention. Most people find that a contentious atmosphere is very unpleasant and try to avoid being in that situation. Unfortunately, due to the fact that everyone typically has their own unique point of view and their own current state of mind, problems do tend to arise more frequently than we would like. What then, can we do about this and how can we respond in such a way that we might diffuse an otherwise escalating debate?

Thinking before we speak is a good first step. In fact, this act alone can serve to eliminate problems before they arise. Everyone should be able to have their own thoughts and feelings about various topics, however, when expressing those thoughts one should aim to do it in a way that will not unnecessarily offend anyone. This requires a bit of thought. We are asking for trouble if we let every thought that comes into our head exit through our mouth without considering unwanted consequences.

Most of us are aware of the things that set us off or “push our buttons”. We can assume that others have areas about which they are sensitive as well and when we sense that we are approaching these susceptible areas we should back off entirely or at the very least, proceed with great caution.

Many a well meaning discussion has turned into an all out argument because of some misguided remarks or thoughtless responses. If you sense that this is beginning to happen in one of your conversations, become a listener rather than a speaker, at least temporarily. Allow the other party to express their thoughts or feelings and then mull that over in your mind briefly before you reply. When you do reply, do so in a soft or moderate tone of voice. It’s amazing how easily others can become incensed or offended because of the increasing volume to which they are subjected in a conversation. The reverse is also true. The biblical saying, “a soft answer turneth away wrath” is right on target.
Whether in the workplace, in the home or on the sports field, these pointers can improve relationships and reduce tension. If, like most of us, you would like less contention and confrontation in your exchanges and your conversations, try these tips. You will be surprised at how much better able you will be to express your thoughts and how much more responsive others will be to them.

Nancy Smith is one of the owners of RobbinsSports.com, an online retailer specializing in Basketball Uniforms and Portable Scoreboards.