Did you know I wrote a book, Unlocked: Essential Keys to Manage Family Conflict, with my professor friend, Angela? I shared about it when it was published last year (https://shannonrbrown.com/2022/07/14/hot-off-the-presses/), but since it’s been a while I thought I’d mention it again. And this time, you get a little sample!
As I’m certain you can deduce from the title, our book is about understanding and managing family conflict. While the material is scientifically based, we also share how the strategies have been employed in our own lives and relationships. Additionally, we constructed several simple scenarios to illustrate different concepts – and one of those shorts is what you’ll find below. It’s a comedic depiction of the Levels of Conflict and how disputes can escalate, sometimes rapidly, if they’re not managed well at the start.
The Food Feud: A Hypothetical Escalation of Conflict
Angela and Shannon decided to go to lunch after a hard day of editing their forthcoming bestseller. Angela, being of Greek heritage, suggested they eat at her favorite Greek restaurant. Shannon, having grown up in Alaska, preferred to go to the local seafood restaurant. They were obviously at an impasse.
They began to discuss their options and made a case for each of their preferences. Angela mentioned all the lovely salads available at her choice, while Shannon regaled her with tales of grilled halibut steaks, in attempts to persuade the other into agreeing to her choice. At this point they were still fairly cordial, but were both digging their heels in, escalating the situation.
The argument grew heated. “But we ALWAYS have Greek food,” exclaimed Shannon, while Angela countered, “You NEVER want to agree with me, about anything.” They both privately thought about using a coin to help them choose, but neither wanted to let the other win.
“Fine, if we can’t even agree on where to eat, then why are we still friends?” shouted Angela. Shannon raged in response, “You always have to be right! Plus, you know I can’t eat cheese. You don’t care that feta cheese will make me suffer. I’m honestly better off without you.” The women were so loud that they drew a crowd of spectators, blocking any chance to escape the conflict.
The argument continued and escalated to the point where the two friends declared each other enemies. Shannon decided to burn down the Greek restaurant so Angela could never eat there again. Angela did likewise to the seafood establishment. Now the entire town lives without either restaurant. Both women are serving life sentences in, thankfully, two different federal penitentiaries.
Before we go any further, let me assure you that no restaurants were hurt and neither of us are facing jail time for arson.
Are you terrified to go to lunch with a friend now? If so, I’m so sorry! Hopefully, instead, you got at least a little chuckle out of that vignette. (We sure had fun, and a lot of laughs, putting it together.) As exaggerated as this situation is, it does demonstrate how easily conflict can arise – and if you’re not good at managing it, how quickly relationships can go up in flames.
In these post-pandemic, highly politicized days it seems like too many of us are primed, and in some cases seeking, to fight. Add in the stunting effect on our communication skills of both Covid related isolation and the growing reliance on digital devices, and it seems as if we walk through a steaming cauldron of conflict each and every day. To protect our own relationships, it might be time for us all to take a refresher course on conflict resolution. Thankfully, I have a perfect resource for you!
If you’d like to improve your own conflict management skills our book is a good place to start. You can find the book in ebook format, and in print, at most online book merchants. Prefer to have one signed by the authors? Just let me know in the comments, I happen to have a stack of them ready to be sold and shipped out. 🙂
Thanks for spending a little time with me today. Please like, share and comment. It helps me with visibility and I love to interact with my readers. To be sure you never miss a new post, hit the subscribe button below. You have my eternal gratitude!