Conflict Management: When Saying Nothing Is A Mistake

When You Should Never Say Nothing
By Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

Most of the time, you won’t get into trouble for what you don’t say.

But there’s one big exception. If you have gotten into a heated argument, or a nasty quarrel, it’s a mistake to get up and just walk off, saying nothing.

Here’s the rule–it’s one that I learned years ago in a graduate-level marriage consulting course. Tell the other person that you plan to return and pick up the conversation at a later time–whether it’s a business communication, a marital issue, and a lover’s quarrel.

Just getting up and walking away without a promise to return is inviting a negative response from the other person that may be surprisingly nasty.  You may just push a button you don’t want to push.

Say something like, “I need to step into the restroom,” or “Let me get us a drink…What would you like?”  This can really defuse the situation.

Or if the conversation was really heated, and you think you both need time to cool off,, say “Let me think about this. Can I give you a call later this evening?”

Stopping the argument may be very wise.  But don’t let the way you stop it add to the problem.

You get the idea. Make sure the other person knows that you respect him or her, and aren’t just stalking off in a huff.

You don’t have to say much, but you do need to say something courteous. 

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—Gene Griessman is an award-winning professional speaker, actor, and consultant. His video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, contact us at 404-435-2225 or abe@mindspring.com Learn more about Gene Griessman at presidentlincoln.com and atlantaspeakersbureau.com

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