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Articles (Ombud's Office)

Don’t Let a Disagreement Turn into an Argument

Disagreements are bound to happen. However they can get out of control very easily.  Things may be said that are just plain mean and spiteful. Emotions can make a rational person unreasonable and lead to a very heated argument.

Here are some things you can do to prevent disagreements from turning into arguments:

  • Speak slower and lower your voice.
  • This helps to remove emotional tones, reduces tension and is calming.
  • Suggest that you take a short break and plan to meet in private in a relaxed atmosphere.
  • This makes finding a resolution much easier and prevents the rumour-mill from starting.
  • Be clear on what you disagree with and clarify the perspective of the other person.
  • This keeps the focus is on the issue - not the person (and not to be taken personally).
  • Sit side-by-side, maintaining a comfortable distance (avoid standing face-to-face).
  • This is a less threatening posture and reduces the “flight or fight” stimulus.
  • Listen respectfully (do not make a joke, poke fun at or smile about an issue).
  • The other person needs to know that you take their concern seriously.
  • After coming to a resolution, ask the other person “Are you comfortable with that?”
  • This shows concern and confirms that the resolution you’ve reached is acceptable.

Try these techniques the next time you are in a disagreement with someone. Many friendships and relationships have been damaged irreparably by out-of-control arguments. We are all human beings and we all make mistakes. And we all want to get along with one another. By being mindful of others, we can do the right things to make an already complicated life a little bit easier. 

Kim Morgan, Ombudsperson
Phone: 475-6209
Toll Free: 800 465-5493 x6209

Post Holiday Blues Can Escalate Stress and Conflict: What You Can Do About It!

Getting-Rid-of-the-Grinch Syndrome!

For some of us (maybe most), the holidays feel like a very, very - very long time ago. You may be feeling run down from too much eating, drinking and late nights. To top it off you may have experienced disappointment (so many of us do) the holidays just didn’t go as we’d imagined.

Right now you may be experiencing these and perhaps other reasons for feeling down, glum, blue, overwhelmed or easily annoyed. Back at school or work, the stress of it all can take a big bite out of you and others around you that can lead to conflict through harmful words or behaviours.

But take heart as there are some things you can do to change all that. Of course it’s always important to eat well, get enough sleep and to exercise regularly. As well, focus on not taking yourself and life too seriously. My personal mantra for this year is: ‘I don’t mind what happens.’ Krishnamurti

So here are some things you can do to improve how you feel right now:

  • Go outside in the sunlight (light deprivation can make you feel tired and depressed)
  • Take a brisk walk (even 10 minutes is enough to decrease stress and tension)
  • Smile and put energy into everything you do (this can trick you into feeling better, maybe even exuberant!)
  • Tune into your breathing whenever you think of  it (this is a natural form of meditation)
  • Listen to your favourite music, or think of someone you love
  • Laugh at yourself (your foibles and idiosyncrasies)
  • Talk with a friend (be sure to choose an upbeat one!)
  • Organize your week and set priorities for each day (making a schedule helps)
  • Ask yourself what is bothering you the most and act on it (do it or fix it)
  • Clean up your immediate surroundings (a tidy room and desk are definite perk-ups!)
  • Drink a cup of coffee! (boosts energy, alertness and ability to focus)
  • Think before you speak (sometimes silence is the best answer!)
  • Give meaningful compliments
  • Admit error (no one is infallible!)
  • Tease others (but gently - a great way to show you care)
  • Refuse to take offense (remember it’s nothing personal)
  • Be courteous to others - no matter what!

And for help in resolving a conflict, contact:

Kim Morgan, Ombudsperson
Phone: 475-6209
Toll Free: 800 465-5493 x6209