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Reconciling Relationships – How To Rebuild Trust Once It Has Broken Down

u-leg-bridge-1370437_1920 (003)I recently observed two people reconciling after a long period of conflict between them. A breakdown in trust is what prompted the conflict, and now they were trying to determine how to move forward.

Trust can be a tricky thing. You must have some level of confidence with those you interact with as it is a significant element in most successful encounters. However, if you have faced distrusting people who have left you feeling disappointed or hurt in the past, you may find yourself unwilling or unable to trust.

In an article on the Beyond Intractability website titled, “Trust and Trust Building” by Roy J. Lewicki and Edward C. Tomlinson they provide a fantastic overview of trust between people.  Roy J. Lewicki and Edward C. Tomlinson explain:

The need for trust arises from our interdependence with others. We often depend on other people to help us obtain, or at least not to frustrate, the outcomes we value (and they on us). As our interests with others are intertwined, we also must recognize that there is an element of risk involved insofar as we often encounter situations in which we cannot compel the cooperation we seek. Therefore, trust can be very valuable in social interactions.

What I loved about this overview is that the authors mentioned the risk you take when you are putting your confidence in others, as that is the crux of the whole unspoken arrangement. Are you willing to put your confidence in this person and take the chance that they will come through on their end, whatever or however that may be?

Trust is involved in all social interaction. A wife and husband have to trust one another to remain faithful to their vows. Friends who share intimate details of their life must have confidence in each other not to share those secrets with anyone else. A boss must trust their employees to do their work. Even minuscule interactions like a mechanic and a customer require some level of trust.

Which brings me back to the two people I witness reconciling their relationship. Both parties wanted to reconcile and move forward, but once trust has broken down how do you get it back?

The essential element to rebuilding confidence in one another is communication. Speak openly and honestly about what caused the rift in your relationship. Having the ability to voice your frustrations and hurt feelings to the other person can assist in squashing any possible misunderstandings that developed. It also allows you the ability to feel heard, often we hold onto anger and sadness when we are not given the opportunity to tell the other person how we feel.  In some cases, one or both of you need to apologize. Sometimes a genuine apology is enough to reconcile and move forward. It can also be beneficial to express why you feel reluctant to trust the other person again. By discussing your reservations or theirs, it allows a chance to work with one another in brainstorming solutions to rebuild trust and strategies to address possible issues arising in the future.

A risk is always present when putting your trust in another person. If everyone is willing to reconcile, knowing how to rebuild trust in your relationship is essential in moving forward.

 

Abigail R.C. McManus M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

Guest Blogger

 

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You No Longer Have a Friend in Me – When and How You Should End a Friendship

Photo credit:  woodleywonderworks

Goodbye (AttributionRequired)When we hear someone say they are, “ending a relationship” we assume this to mean the person is breaking up with their significant other.  However, “ending a relationship” could also mean severing ties with a friend.  Friendships can be challenging to maintain especially over extended periods of time.  Life provides many excuses for a friendship to end: you move far away from one another, you work more, you have more responsibilities just to name a few. But what about those friendships for which you deliberately choose to walk away? When should you end the friendship? How do you end it?

Ending a friendship is not easy, but coming to that decision requires careful consideration, especially if you have been friends for a long time.

When should you end a friendship?

While it is entirely up to you if and when you decide to sever ties with a friend, there are several junctures where the choice to walk away may be obvious.

  • You can’t trust them. Your friend has done something to betray you whether it was talking about you behind your back, telling your personal stories, hitting on or becoming romantically involved with your significant other are just some examples of how trust can be broken.
  • You feel self-conscious when around them. Your friend consistently puts you down or make snide remarks about your appearance, behavior, or any other aspect that makes you feel bad about yourself.
  • You recognize the friendship is one-sided. You’re always the one making an effort to get together or connect. Or, your friend only reaches out to you during times when they need something, but they don’t reciprocate for you. Then you are likely in a one-sided friendship.
  • You no longer have anything in common. You grow up, develop different interests, make other friends. It is a part of life.

How do you address this dilemma?

  1. Make sure it is what you want. Rekindling a friendship after you have explicitly made a point of ending it with your friend will be most difficult, therefore, it is important that you are absolutely sure it is what you want. Think about what you will lose by cutting ties with your friend and if the loss is worth it. Consider whether mutual friends will be impacted by this decision. Be mindful if you are still angry about what has occurred, making rash decisions in the heat of the moment most often never turns out well.
  2. Silently Part Ways. If you are in a situation where your friend is no longer reaching out, then it may not be necessary to have a face-to-face conversation. It that situation, perhaps it may be better for you to stop making an effort to reach out and connect. Take some time to consider whether silently parting ways will be the best option or if a face-to-face conversation is the better route to take.
  3. Don’t bring others into it. Meaning, don’t speak poorly or encourage bashing of the friend you are severing ties with in an attempt to gain allies. Involving others friends has the potential to cause damage to more than one friendship.
  4. Be truthful but not mean. If you decide to end the friendship, it may be best to do so in person so that closure can be had for you both. When speaking to them be truthful in your reasons for cutting ties. The strategy of sugarcoating and dancing around the topic will only make ending the relationship worse. It is important to be descriptive and to stick to how their behaviors have made you feel rather than pointing out their flaws. For example, you might say, ” Danielle, I need to end our friendship because for some time now I feel it has been one-sided. I feel frustrated and annoyed as I only hear from you when you need someone to talk to or when you and your boyfriend are fighting.” Rather than, ” Danielle, I’m done being your friend. You are just using me, and I am sick of it.”
  5. Set boundaries for moving forward. If you are severing the friendship make sure it is clear to both you and the person you are walking away from what that means, so there is no confusion. For example, “Danielle, moving forward I feel it is best if neither of us makes efforts to explicitly hang out. However, if we happen to run into each other we still remain cordial.”

 

Have a Good Week,

Abigail R.C. McManus

Guest Blogger/ Host

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Waltzing With Wolverines: Working With “Troubled” Teens

 

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Mark AndreasStephen - 1Join us to learn the key principles to building relationship and trust with any teenager, whether “troubled” or not. Want to know how to set effective boundaries, how to avoid ever getting into a power control battle, and how to have a whole lot of fun in the process? In a job where the average length of employment is measured in months, and many last only weeks, Mark Andreas not only survived but thrived while working round-the- clock with troubled teens. Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a youth leader, or anyone wanting to connect with and support the teens in your life, come learn how to build relationships that are simultaneously more empowering for you and the teens you work with.    

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What goes Wrong after “I Do”? – Tips on How to Not Become Apart of the 50 Percent

wed-default-icon1According to the American Psychological Association, “40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce.” Twelve weeks from now I will be getting married; therefore this statistic could be discouraging. My mother married once before my dad, and she often says, “No one enters into a marriage thinking they will get a divorce.” I have thought a lot this week about what having a good marriage means and why a couple might resort to divorce, and I compiled a list below.

  • Communication- Majority of the reasons that I will provide for why couples divorce, all come back to communication. I learned in school that when people stop talking that is when the issues arise. People are not mind readers, so if a couple stops talking with one another, there is no way of knowing what their partner is thinking. Lack of communication is a breeding ground for conflict; therefore, I have always stressed open communication with my fiancé. We make a point to catch up on one another’s day, talk issues through, and constantly keep communication channels open.
  • Trust- A lack of trust can destroy a relationship. While I recognize trust also requires a certain level of vulnerability, and if someone has hurt you in the past, this can be especially difficult. A marriage will only be successful if you trust your partner. I took a lot more time to trust than my fiancé because I was hurt in the past, but I found that once I allowed myself to be exposed, our relationship ran much smoother.
  • Rushing- Many couples may get divorced because they rushed into marriage. Women worry about their biological clock, men may feel aging pressure as well. Couples do not take the time to get to know one another and take the position that they will figure it out as they go, which isn’t always the best route to take. Although, I’m sure there are exceptions. I think it is important to understand the person you are committing to and not shy away from the tough topics. When my fiancé and I say, “I do” we will have been dating eight years, we started when we were seventeen and eighteen. We essentially had to grow up together, and we each had to adjust to one another changing, as neither of us are the same people we were as teenagers.
  • Expectations- Humans have expectations for people and their relationships. When a significant other, the relationship, or both, don’t live up to the hopes placed on them, things fall apart rather quickly. My fiancé and I have spent a lot of time discussing this topic. We both feel a way to avoid failing to live up to standards, is to be confident with who we are as individuals, and to check consistently in on one another’s needs and wants.

While there are more than four reasons why people may resort to divorce, these were the ones I thought to be the most important. My fiancé and I are not, like my mother said, entering into matrimony with divorce in mind. We are not even entering into marriage thinking it is an option. He and I have talked extensively on this topic, and we both established that should we start having issues we will continuously communicate and if need be, attend counseling. While it may seem as though we have a negative outlook, I think it is always best to have a game plan for future events that could occur.

 

Abigail Clark, M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management

Apprentice

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Lessons in Empathy –Tips on how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes

Clipart Illustration of Two Orange People On Blue Puzzle Pieces,When I was younger and in a conflict with a friend, I would always vent to my mom. I would often, as most of us do, blame the other person and make generalizations and assumptions about why my friend was acting, saying, and doing those things to me (always intentionally in my eyes). Once I would finish venting, my Mom would then take on the role of devil’s advocate. At the time, this drove me nuts because in my dramatic pre-teen/teen years, I just wanted her to take my side. I had no idea this little exercise she continuously did would end up benefiting me not only in my education but also in my life.

What is empathy and why is it important?

Merriam-Webster defines empathy as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.” In other words, empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. In an article adapted from Bruna Martinuzzi’s book: The Leader as a Mensch: Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow found on Mindtools.com he explains that empathy, “Allows us to create bonds of trust, it gives us insights into what others may be feeling or thinking; it helps us understand how or why others are reacting to situations, it sharpens our “people acumen” and it informs our decisions.” In a conflict, if you take the time to try and recognize where the other person is coming from, you can gain an alternative perspective.

How can you be more empathetic?

One step towards being more empathetic is to listen to the other person when they are speaking. Mike Robbins contributor to the HuffPost Healthy Living blog explains, “Asking people how they truly feel, what’s really going on in their world, AND listening to how they respond (without judgment) are some of the best things we can do to express our empathy for the people around us.” Often in conflict, we stop listening to one another because we are too absorbed in our thoughts and feelings or because we are preparing a response.

The next step suggested by Bruna Martinuzzi is, “Take a personal interest in people. Show people that you care, and [have a] genuine curiosity about their lives. Ask them questions about their hobbies, their challenges, their families, their aspirations.” By taking the time to ask questions and be inquisitive about the other person’s life, you are getting to know them and showing that you care, which builds trust and rapport and makes it easier to step into their shoes if a conflict should arise.

The final step suggested by Reginald Adkins, a contributor on LifeHack.org, to being more empathetic is to “Assure you’re understanding. Ask clarifying questions and restate what you perceive the speaker to be saying.” In order for you to be empathetic, you must make sure that you comprehend the message the person is trying to convey. Sometimes it can be helpful to regurgitate back to the person what you heard. If what you heard and what they said are not matching up, allow them to clarify further. While doing this may seem tedious, it ensures that no miscommunication occurs and that you have a clear understanding of that person’s perspective, which then allows you to be more empathetic.

It is always in hindsight that we can see the lessons our parents were trying to teach us. I can remember a time in college when I was in a conflict and I automatically stopped and thought, where are they coming from? In that moment, I recognized what my Mom had been doing all those years; she had been teaching me to be empathic.

Abigail Clark

Graduate Student Intern,

University of Baltimore- Negotiation and Conflict Management Program

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Refusing to be Enemies: The Zeitouna Story

Huda Karaman Rosen Laurie White Wadad Abedzena Zumeta

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zeitouna is Arabic for “olive tree” or “olive”.  In the sumer of 2002, a unique sisterhood was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, comprised of six Arab and six Jewish women.  Naming themselves Zeitouna, they unknowingly embarked on a life-changing journey, both personal and socio-political.  Committing to learn to hear each voice in the group has permanently joined them across the divide of their ancestral communities.  Zeitouna’s mission is to embody and promote the peaceful and just coexistence of the Arab and Jewish peoples through connection, trust, empathy, and actions focused on supporting a sustainable future for Palestine and Israel.

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Trust 101 – How You Can Build Trust and Overcome Distrust

 

John SettleStephenKotev2Trust is a key element of our personal and professional relationships. Without it progress grinds to a halt and disagreements become rampant amongst friends, coworkers, and leadership. No matter if you are the newest hire or the CEO; you need to understand what trust is and how it is build and that distrust is not just the absence of trust, but a separate, malignant problem!  This program will provide you with specifics on how to build trust and overcome distrust.

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How to Build a Bridge of Trust Over Conflict


Issues of trust are at the core of almost every conflict, no matter how big or small, simple or complex. Yet when people are pitted against each other in conflict, how can they find ground to build trust, let alone repair trust that’s been broken?

The framework and language Charles Feltman will outline in this program gives people a way to start conversations that can bridge the abyss of distrust so they can begin to deal with their conflicts productively.   

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