Interpersonal conflicts are almost inevitable in various contexts. Because people make mistakes and different person holds different opinions and stands. We may run into conflicts not only with people we do not know very well but also with people we love - friends or family members. The most recent conflict I have had is with one of my friends during the Chinese New Year.
As most overseas Chinese students do during Chinese New Year, I gather together with a bunch of friends. Eating, drinking and playing games to celebrate Chinese New Year. To us, this is much more than a party. Because in China Chinese New Year is a time for people to go home and be company to family members and relatives after a long-year’s work not matter well done or otherwise. For many people this is the only chance in a year to cultivate their family ties which are essential in Chinese culture. When my friends and I celebrate Chinese New Year together, we see each other more than just a friend but as a substitute of our respective family members who are thousands of miles away.
The conflict occurred when I was playing a role-playing game with my friends during the Chinese New Year gathering. Each of us was assigned a role and the whole group was divided into a few parties. Only one party could win the game by defeating the rest. The game was supposed to be for fun but after a while me and another friend of mine (let’s call him John) got too involved in the game and we became very serious. John was in party A and I was in party B. Each of us was trying to ally with another friend (let’s call him Simon) who was in party C. Whoever lost the alliance was most likely to lose the game. John was trying to convince Simon that allying with him could bring Simon the most benefit. And I was trying to do the same for myself too. As the “campaign” went on, conversations turned into arguments. I and John started pointing fingers to each other and trying to show that the other’s viewpoint was completely biased and wrong. Then, both of us felt offended and annoyed by the other. The more annoying and offended we felt, the worsen language we used. The worsen language used, the more annoying and offended we felt. The cycle went on and situation was really bad.
I think the cause of the conflict was that both of us were too involved in the game and we didn’t have the empathy to understand the rightness of the other’s desire to win. We only thought about our own eager to win and ignored the other’s feeling.
To some extent, John and I were in a family. Still we had this conflict. I think empathy is very important in avoiding this kind of conflict. But while in this conflict, what are the effective communication skills needed to resolve the awkward and intense situation and subsequently fix the friendship?