communication conflict

SITUATION:  I had been saving for a new mobile phone for the past three months, and when I finally got myself my dream phone, I was ecstatic. I gave it my tender, loving, care and got a new phone case and really did not let other people touch it. You might say, I was obsessed with my new phone, but since I got it from my own sweat and sacrifice, it was all the more precious to me. I was happy with its functions, its design and I knew that I will be using this phone for a long time.

One day, due to the morning rush and my preoccupation with an exam in one of my difficult subjects, I rushed out of the house, took the exam and did not look at my phone for the rest of the morning. At lunch break, I was waiting for my friends at the cafeteria when I remembered my phone. I looked and looked, my hands begun to be clammy, I was sweating and the worried look on my face was evident that people was looking over their shoulders to spy at me. I was becoming frantic and I had imagined different kinds of scenarios, I might have left the phone on the bus, I might have dropped it on my way to class, or someone might have stolen it from my bag! Then my friends joined me and asked me what was wrong, in a trembling voice, I said I think I lost my phone, a friend was surprised, another one was worried too, but one friend was smirking.

To me that added another wound to my already frail heart and I wanted to shout at her for being so insensitive. I wanted to say something hurtful to her, but I was reminded of our conflict theory lesson and decided to apply the STLC theory.

THE STLC THEORY:  Resolving conflict is often difficult especially if we let our emotions get the better of us. But resolving conflict often takes a sane mind and lots of emotional control because we tend to use our emotions as the basis for out actions in the face of conflict. The STLC theory or the STOP, THINK, LISTEN and COMMUNICATE theory provides steps to resolve and handle conflict objectively. The theory says that if an individual finds him/her self in conflict, he/she must stop and take a moment to control one’s self. Then, he/she must think about the situation and the conflict before doing anything. Next, he/she must listen to the other party in the conflict before saying anything else and finally, he/she should communicate to the other person what he/she is feeling at that moment.

ANALYSIS and APPLICATION: The conflict I was experiencing was that I was angry at my friend for being insensitive and for laughing at my misery of losing my new phone. Instead of confronting her, right there, I excused myself and went to the ladies room. There I stopped and took deep breaths, washed my face and combed my hair. Then I looked at the mirror and said “take it easy, relax”. As I was making my way back to our table, I was thinking about the reasons why my friend was laughing at my predicament, why she was not sympathetic and why she did not say any comforting words to me, I was thinking about what I would do if she was the one who lost something valuable.

When I approached the table, I seated myself and just kept silent, my friends then rushed on with suggestions on how to find my phone and what to do to ascertain that it was really lost. I listened to them (all three of them) and the heaviness I felt was slowly dissipating. Then the friend I was angry with said that she would call my phone to check if it was still on, if it was then it meant I might have just misplaced it. Although I still felt hurt with my friend, the hope of finding my phone was much more important to me. So I just nodded my head when they asked me they would call my phone. We were all waiting expectantly, while my phone was ringing, and suddenly a familiar voice answered the phone, it was my sister! It turned out I left my phone at her place last night when I had dinner with her. I was overcome with relief and I was so happy that I was gleaming.

As we were making our way to the library, I communicated to my friend that I was hurt at her reaction earlier. She looked serious, and said that she really was not paying attention, she was grinning at the other table because she saw something funny! She only understood why I was upset when my friends told her when I went to the ladies room. We both laughed at our silliness and what a day I had!

The STLC theory had helped me resolve conflict smoothly, if not for the theory, I might have said something hurtful and it might have caused a rift in our friendship. Now I was glad I had taken this course and that I have good friends.


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