Conflict 101: 10 Lessons I Learned in Dealing With Conflicts

I currently work in an airline company of approximately 600 people where constant meeting with each other is unavoidable. We are rostered into flights where I get to fly with some crew as many as eight times in a month. I enjoy flying, and I like my flights especially if the people I fly with are nice, friendly and diligent. We are a multi cultural community thus; we deal with different nationalities with different social and cultural backgrounds. Given the fact that it’s a multicultural environment, conflict is always unavoidable, no matter how insignificant, irrelevant or minor it was.

I have been with this company for over four years and I had my fair shares of conflict where in the end, it is either closed and forgotten or settled and we all go on happily with our lives. I have also seen girl fights over the social media, read harsh exchange of taunting and insults. I have heard girls gossip about other girls, no matter how untrue or factual it was, girls devour it like some well prepared meal. I have also encountered boy’s mudslinging others, and its quiet vicious. I rationalized that perhaps, because all we ever do is fly, go home, sleep, stare in the television, play with our phones and majority of us have nothing quiet productive to do, gossiping and passing untruthful stories about each other is the best recreational past time there is. And when fight comes into the picture after it has reached the intended party, everybody enjoys being the spectator. After all, having bottled anger and that desire to fight back is always unsettling.

My friend S, who is the inspiration of this post, recently became a victim of cyber bullying where other girls posted cruel things in the internet and maligned her. To make matters worse, S herself was just a victim of an unknown game of staged and well played pseudo relationship. Too many posts, too many insults being thrown at her, too many untruthful stories being shared from flights to another by the so called other victim and her friends and name callings, S decided to fight back unthinking. She posted the same kind of crap being thrown at here. She fought back just exactly how that very cruelty was inflicted on her. Understandably, her actions were justifiable. In this world where dog eats another dog, one must fight back to survive. In S’s case, she fought back for her honor. But then, S was cautioned by her friends to simply ignore the senseless fighting since she sincerely knew she was not guilty of anything and none of those accusations thrown at her were true. So, in an instant, she let go and simply walked away from such chaos. I admired S’s conviction to continue with her life peacefully. In the end, she might have won it proving her claim to be right but I choose to believe that she has already won it when she walked away.

In light with S’s experience, I learned the following valuable lessons.

1. I don’t have to be always right. I do not need to assert that I am right all the time. I strongly agree that being peaceful is much better than being right.

2. I have to choose my own battles. I do not need to be always in the front line of any battles, neither fights with anybody just to prove my point.

3. The person who apologizes first is the bravest. When one acknowledges his mistakes and apologizes, he displays admirable strength and maturity.

4. I need to count from 1 to 10 before I talk back. Similarly, I need to stop from rushing head first into the fight and reflect whether this will help me or further create conflict.

5. If confrontation is inevitable, I need to keep a calm demeanor, my words carefully chosen and my responses less threatening.

6. Before I engage in conflict, I need to ask myself three things; will this matter five years from now? Will it cause me sleepless nights if I do not confront my offender? Will it help me become a better person if I win this argument and hurt the offending party?

7. I need to have concrete facts before I get react. I need to know my enemy well before I charge in to the battleground.

8. I should try to verbalize what I feel to friends I trust the most. I know that they can enlighten me at some point whether a matter is worth attending to. My friends can also help me realize that sometimes, senseless conflict is a total waste of time.

9. I shall avoid using social media to vent my anger or to taunt my opponent. I should refuse to post, comment or create scenarios to further ignite the raging fire of conflict.

10. When I know I am right, I do not owe anybody an explanation. An angry person will refuse to listen to my explanations anyway. I should avoid stressing myself over unwanted dramas by simply walking away from such trouble.

Be kind. Be peaceful. Let go of what drags you down and remove yourself from the toxic environment. Life is meant to be lived with happiness, compassion and maximizing your full potential. A happy heart is a happy life.


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