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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Build Strong Relationships - Four Tips on How to Use Conflict to Create Intimacy By Eric Coggins

If you are a normal red-blooded human being, you hate conflict. In fact, most people avoid conflict like the plague. However, what we do not realize is that at least some level of conflict is necessary to gaining intimacy with another human being. A Cambodian proverb says "you are not a close friend until you have had a fight with that person." This article presents four tips on how to use conflict to create intimacy.

First, look at conflict as a way to learn more about yourself.

Often, when we are in the heat of the moment, we become locked into the problem and fail to learn from the situation. However, Stephen Covey, 1989, wrote that humans have four distinct gifts to help us change unwanted behavior. One of those gifts is self-awareness. Through the gift of self-awareness, you can use conflict to find out who you are and what makes you tick. You can learn about what is important to you and why you are having a problem with your friend.

The other three gifts are conscience, imagination and independent will. These gifts help us assess our behavior as right or wrong (conscience); design a new course of action (imagination); and carry it out (independent will).

Employment of all four gifts will help you know how to fine-tune to your partner and allow you to grow closer to them.

Second, look at conflict as an opportunity to learn more about your friend or partner.

When your worldview collides with their worldview, you learn more about them and what makes them tick.

This follows only if you are willing to suspend your need for self-preservation. Covey points out that in between stimulus and response is a space or gap. If you can teach yourself to think before you react, then you can exploit this space to make better choices. Unfortunately, most of us are prone to react instantaneously rather than take a step back and think through what just happened.

If we can learn to exploit the space and delay our response, then we can also learn to ask questions about our partner's behavior. Such questions will help them know that you want to know them better and will cause them to trust you more. As trust deepens, your relationship will become more intimate.

Third, learn to be humble.

Humility is an essential quality for close friendships. Humility means to have a right view of yourself. To have a right view of yourself means to accurately assess your worth, thinking neither too highly nor too lowly about your life. In fact, you are a masterpiece of
God's own hand, created to be the special person you are.

The same is true of your friend or companion. As such you are both very valuable. When you have a correct view of yourself and others, you will treat them with greater respect and dignity. Conflict is an opportunity to practice humility and to reiterate the worth of others.

Fourth, learn the fine art of reconciliation.

Few know how to reconcile their relationships. When relationships go sour, most people either throw up their hands to fight it out or drop their heads and slink away. But, if you can learn how to reconcile in an amiable way, you will have the intimate relationships of all. Reconciliation includes learning how to apologize for offenses committed against the other and how to forgive when others hurt you. A

lthough it is not advisable to purposely seek out trouble, the more conflict you encounter the more you will learn how to deal with conflict and how to reconcile with your loved ones.
Conflict is never easy and most people try to avoid it. This article has discussed four tips on how to use conflict to create more intimate relationships.

Eric Coggins - is the author of the 92 page ebook The Best You:Foundation Principles of an Effective Life. If you would like to know more about that book and how to have an abundant life, checkout

Eric CogginsLevel: Basic PLUSI grew up somewhere between Disneyland and Hollywood. I am the third child of four, and second boy of three. Both my parents are still ... ...