Thursday Special

Last Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

You and your BFF are attempting to resolve a serious conflict…

You should use a collaborative strategy because you want not dark shadows to cover this important relationship.  Putting everything on the table for discussion and resolution is the best long term strategy.

Scenario #2

Your neighbor is using a competing or win/lose method……

Unfortunately you are being bullied here and so the tendency would be to use the same strategy right back (“If you do, I’ll sue you and report you to the police”).    This creates a no-win situation.  Better to attempt a compromise strategy (“I’m truly sorry if my dog has done any damage to your yard.  I am happy to pay for any damage my dog has done.  I will keep him chained up.  However, if you see him straying over there,  please call me and I will come get him.  How does that solution sound to you?”)

Scenario #3

Events have put you in a very angry frame of mind….

This is the perfect opportunity to use an avoiding strategy.  Never go into an important conversation feeling angry.  You need a clear mind and all your emotionality under control.  Putting off your discussion – even for 30 minutes – is a very smart strategy in this situation.

Scenario #4

For you, the conflict issue is trivial; for your co-worker, it is critical…….

This is the perfect opportunity to use an accommodating strategy and build up some good will.  Tell your co-worker you are happy to go along with what she wants and that you anticipate she will support you at some future time. (As an aside, males find this strategy effective and easy to use, females have a tough time with it because it reeks of manipulation.)

Scenario #5

You and your significant other are in a conflict over something trivial……

The best strategy here is the avoiding method.  Both of you have recognize the issue is not worth the effort to sort it out.  Take a break. Why waste the emotionality on it.  After a day or two, the issue may have resolved itself.


This Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

Trudy and Jim Donavan and their kids moved into a sparsely developed rural neighborhood one year ago.  Jim spends a lot of time on the road, away from his family.  Trudy is a stay-at-home mom.  Their sprawling home sits on several acres of woods and field. It is a great place for their four very young children to play.

There is a low stone wall that separates their property from their nearest neighbor, a family with five late teens and early twenties aged boys.  During the summer months, these boys hold huge, loud parties with rap music and such which attract kids from all over the county for fun, frolic, drinking, drugs, and, Trudy suspects, sex.  The noise not only scares Trudy and Jim’s kids, it prevents them from sleeping.

Trudy and Jim are afraid to report the disturbing noise to the authorities because these neighbor boys have a well-deserved reputation for getting even with those folks who complain about them.  After all, Jim is gone a good deal of the time leaving Trudy home alone with their very young kids.  Trudy would be defensiveness if those boys decided to cause havoc on her, the house or the kids.  This family is angry and living in fear.  What do you think they should do?

Scenario #2

You have a neighbor whose yard looks like a garbage dump.  It is filled with rusted car parts, broken barrels, busted toys, damaged camping equipment, smashed bicycles, old garden pots and assorted corroded tools.  At the edge of his property that adjoins yours, he has piled the remains of his tree-trimming, leaf-blowing and other assorted landscape rubbish.  You have asked this neighbor to please clean up his yard.  You even offered to help him do it. His response was since it doesn’t bother him and since it is his property, you should mind your own business.  You are furious and frustrated.

You and your family are interested in finding a new place to live in order to accommodate the needs of your growing family.  The real estate agent told you that your neighbor’s junk filled yard is negatively affecting the value of your property.  In fact, with so many other properties on the market, he told you that unless this situation were cleaned up, he seriously doubts that anyone would even entertain a bid on your property.   What do you think you should do?


Scenario #3

Your neighbor has serious drinking problem.  He often goes into rages beating up his wife and sometimes the kids as well. You are privy to all the screaming and shouting that goes on almost nightly.   Other neighbors have often called the authorities to intervene.  Nothing helps because the wife refuses to file a complaint against her drunken husband.

To date, you have stayed out of it entirely.  However, now you feel you must do something.  Last night, your neighbor arrived home drunk, swerved onto your lawn, smashed into your garage and damaged your new car.  The impact was so great that your son, whose little apartment is above the garage, was thrown out of his chair and sustained a broken jaw.  What do you think you should do?

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