Sometimes a relationship, whether a friendly, professional, or romantic one, can have it’s stormy days. Conflict is an inevitable part of being in proximity with another human being. If you’re prepared for life’s windy moments, you can avoid damage and safely weather the storm.
Here are three tips for those rainy relationship moments:
#1- Know the Season
In Iowa, spring is prime time for severe weather like large hail, damaging winds, and even tornadoes. During this season Iowans often take precautions and keep an eye on the weather forecast. Weather can change suddenly making it crucial that your family and your home are prepared in the event of a severe weather outbreak. This takes a little extra planning and effort, but it’s worth it.
Relationships have seasons as well. For example, is it an especially stressful week for your friend at work? He or she might be a bit grumpier during the staff meeting tomorrow. Maybe the anniversary of the loss of a loved one is approaching, and your spouse usually struggles with sadness during that time. Did your 4 year old go to bed late last night? Well, that might mean the probability of tantrums is higher than usual at about 2:00pm. Whatever the circumstance, there are often signs that a person you share life with may be unsettled. You can prepare for these moments by having extra patience, being more considerate, and even doing something special for the person needing a special touch. A small gift, an extra phone call, or even a funny email might be just the touch to lift their spirits and keep the storm clouds from brewing. In addition, knowing the season can prepare you to have patience with your co-worker’s shorter temper, or your child’s poor attitude.
#2- Get to Your Shelter
When the watch turns to a warning, you know the storm is inevitable. This is when you rush to your safe place. A storm shelter can’t be just any nook or cranny in the house, though. The safest place is the lowest and most central place in your home, farthest away from windows and doors. This protects you from flying debris and shattered glass. When an argument or confrontation is imminent in your relationship, there is a safe place for this as well.
In a tornado, panic can cause a person to make foolish decisions and enter harms way. If you are too worked up, you might say something you didn’t mean out of anger. So before you start any confrontation, take a moment to calm down and collect your thoughts. Think of why you are thankful for the person you are engaging with. Before you do anything, take a deep breath!
Choose to move to a location where you can have an open discussion. The middle of your office probably isn’t the best place to finally have that phone call with your friend. And right in front of your children isn’t the best place to have that discussion about the bills. Find somewhere where you can talk to each other.
Remember, violence is never a safe way to have an argument. If the person you are having a confrontation with seems to be too full of lightening, no place is a safe place for that conversation. Hitting, punching, spitting, choking, all of these things are not acceptable forms of communication and you should seek help right away.
#3- Clean Up the Mess
Sometimes no matter what precautions you take, the wind and hail still destroy. Words are like that, too. When an argument dies down and you begin to see more clearly, you must take the time to apologize for saying hurtful things. If a tornado tore off your roof, you would certainly have it fixed right away. You must take time for apologies and healing after an argument. Be able to admit your wrongdoing, and be willing to accept an apology as well. These are skills and practices worth developing.
Again, this advice is in regards to escalated disagreements. If someone is abusing you, seek help immediately. You can do so by clicking here.
No matter the storm, with a little forethought, you can be more prepared to withstand the struggle. Our free HRI workshops offer you skills-based curricula and tools to use in order to communicate in a healthy way with the people around you. You can learn more about them by clicking here.