We all get into arguments with others. It usually happens because other people are just being stubborn by refusing to see things exactly the same way that you do. They should, and deep down they know that they’re bad people for being so difficult. But it’s also possible that what I just wrote is a really, really dumb way to look at arguments.
The point is, all of us have gotten into fights with the people we work with, and all of us have to figure out how to move past our differences and recover from an argument. So here are three simple and completely effective ways to rebuild a working relationship that’s been damaged by a recent argument.
Don’t Do Anything – Seriously. Sometimes things take care of themselves. Like the ozone hole, for example. We basically stopped shoving CFCs in its face, and everything got better. Doing nothing is a great approach with your kids, when you throw them in bed while they’re crying because you know they’ll forget how mad they were about being shoved into bed by the time they wake up tomorrow. I can’t promise this will always work with your colleagues, but when it doesn’t you should be able to figure that out in about 4 seconds. Then, you can try the other ideas!
Perform Some Tiny Yet Nice Gesture For Whoever You Argued With – The only reason the flower and chocolate industries are as big as they are is because men occasionally need to bribe their way back into the good graces of the women they’ve irritated. (Oddly, women have no similar conventional apology purchase. What are we doing wrong, guys, that we haven’t come up with something by now? I vote for motorcycle helmet or nightvision goggles.) You know why we do it? Because it works. And it’ll work on your colleagues as well. Even a gesture as simple as bringing them a candy bar will let them know that you’re in the mood to work through your differences, and that alone is often enough to get the process started.
And once you start talking…
Apologize for Something – Even If You Don’t Really Want To I wasn’t at your house the last time you got in an argument with your spouse, but I know how it went:
- One of you got mad at the other
- The other one got mad at the first person for getting mad at them
- You argued or stopped talking to each other for a while
- One of you apologized for getting mad
- The other one apologized for getting mad
- You stopped fighting
That’s how all arguments generally work, and that’s how they all tend to be solved. None of us likes to think that we were 100% wrong for getting upset about something, even when it’s 100% our fault. So find something to apologize for – not listening, not showing enough interest, whatever – even if you truly don’t think you did anything wrong. Seriously, would you rather be right, or would you rather enjoy your life?
I guarantee one of these three things will work for you. You might not see results immediately, but soon enough your relationship will be back at a healthy and productive.
Or you can put your enemy in a headlock and choke them into submission. It won’t solve the problem, but it sure is fun!
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