Setting Boundaries to Resolve Conflict

Setting Boundaries to Resolve Conflict

Don't know where the future's headed
But nothing's gonna bring me down
Adam Lambert – No Boundaries

Introduction -  Setting boundaries to Resolve Conflict

Feeling Uncomfortable? Set a Boundary
Not too long ago, we wrote a blog about boundaries called Feeling Uncomfortable? Set a Boundary! This laid the foundation for better understanding how we manage the space between others and ourselves. We also introduced theory to explain tensions between being close and distant with others – tensions that are constantly in balance in all of our relationships. 



But what next? How to fix a relationship in relation to a boundary? How does one take this information and apply it within daily life?  How does one deal with or manage a conflict where a boundary is involved? Does every conflict involve some sort of boundary issue?


To start, we recommend being a self leader and taking responsibility in conflict situations. We wrote a blog about self leadership and conflict resolution, which discusses a model to help you feel powerful in relationships.

Common types of boundary violations


Someone around me is angry


It’s hard to not get caught up in someone else’s anger. Anger can come across as very aggressive, and can distract us from what we are doing or thinking. If the anger is from someone in public, and it is not directed towards you, escape from the situation. Remind yourself  there is nothing you can do, and get out of there. Now, if the anger is based on something that you might be  responsible for, you need to take a different approach. Look at our blog on dealing with anger and how to manage anger to learn more about this.

Someone around me is stressed


This is also a difficult emotion to deal with. Not only is it an emotion, it becomes a physiological response, which makes it even more challenging to manage. Someone else’s stress might easily become yours' within minutes or seconds if you do not stay focused  and reinforce your interpersonal boundaries with the person. If you want to improve your boundaries around someone who is stressed, feel free to tell the person that you are starting to feel stressed as a result of their stress. You can say something like,”I feel anxious that you were talking about that. I think everything will be fine.” Or, if you want to help that person deal with their stress, feel free to do so, but make sure that the person gets the help that they need. Also, it is important for you to have your own stress reduction strategy, whatever that looks like to you. Do you go to the gym regularly? Do you do yoga? How do you feel relaxed and what can you do you want a regular basis to reduce your level of stress overall?

Someone around me is offensive


If someone around you said something that you feel uncomfortable about, you can manage your response in several different ways based on your goals and the impact you’re looking to have in the situation. Is there way for you to can state your needs through having a constructive confrontation? This is often the best way of getting your message across, while making sure that you are not offending someone and escalating the conflict unnecessarily. Otherwise, it might even be appropriate to react based on your first instinct or feeling. If you do not think that you will be put in a dangerous situation as a result of your response, and your reputation will not be hurt, feel free to go with it.

Someone around me is jealous


Jealousy is pretty complicated and may require that someone in the situation must work on their confidence. Although you might want to set an obvious boundary with the other person, is important to try to be empathetic to their situation. This is not to say that you should do something that you are not comfortable with or take it lightly if someone wants to take revenge. However, your empathy can go a long way to help resolve a potential conflict. Remember, you are not responsible for their feelings. However, one of the best ways of getting out of the situation is by doing precisely that, get out of it.

Someone around me is in a conflict


Have you ever been around someone that is in conflict with someone else, and you inadvertently started to take on their view or feel the same way toward the other person? This is often part of a conflict escalation cycle, when people start to form groups as result of a conflict that becomes increasingly confusing and messy. It is hard to stay neutral in a conflict. One of the best ways to manage this boundary is by using conflict resolution skills. Even better, take leadership in the situation and help the person see things in a new way. Ask yourself if it is worth getting involved and hurting your own relationship with that other person for something that may or may not have happened. It takes two to tango, so if there is a conflict, both parties have probably contributed in some way. At the same time, gossip can be a good thing in particular situations. Think about these ideas and make the right decision for you.


Getting help to resolve conflict with boundaries

If you were experiencing conflict in your life and you want help from someone, try contacting one of the professional conflict coaches or mediators on Mediate to Go.


Setting boundaries to Resolve Conflict


                                                                                                                         

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