Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Week 5

I recently had a disagreement with a friend of mine that I am close to. One of my close friends was getting married and she picked the color red as the color she wanted her bridal party to wear. However, one of my friends who was in the bridal party told the bride to be that “Why would you pick that color; of all of the colors in the world, why would you pick red?”  I told my friend that it is our friends wedding and we are there to support her and not to question her judgment especially if she knows what she wants.  
I went on to say that when it is your special day, you can pick the color(s) you want and execute everything the way you see fit so that your day is just as special. It wasn’t my comment that caused conflict, it was my delivery. I have learned that conflict usually arises when a person delivers a message in a manner that is confrontational or condescending; for my situation, my comment was direct and unwavering because I said something one of my friends did not want to receive. In fact, she went on to say “If we are friends, I shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells and I should be able to say what I want”. I informed her that that is true, but you also have to realize that we are adults and sometimes you need to keep your comments to yourself and just be a support.
 I used  cooperative strategies by playing devil’s advocate to assist in resolving this conflict so that both parties could benefit from this conversation. I presented the same scenario but I just reversed the parties involved (O’Hair & Wiemann, 2009, p. 212). Although the process of NVC encourages us to focus on what we and others are observing separate from our interpretations and judgments, I wanted my friend to “put the shoe on the other foot” I wanted her to “step out of herself” and analyze the situation from both perspectives without me passing judgment but so that she could understand the frustration of our friend/the bride –to-be.
 I felt applying some of the principles of nonviolent communication as a strategy to resolve this conflict would allow both parties to be respectful to each other’s views and to share their true feelings while being sensitive to each other’s views as well.  NVC places  strong emphasis on personal responsibility for our actions and the choices we make when we respond to others, as well as how to contribute to relationships based in cooperation and collaboration.
As a friend to the bride-to-be and to my girlfriend, I wanted my girlfriend to recognize the needs of the bride-to be. Although I was able to get both parties to speak, at times the conversation was heated and intense. Although they articulated their feelings, the bride-to- be told my girlfriend that she did not want her in her wedding and did not want her support for her wedding. I was sad that things turned out the way it did, but I understood completely. I am happy to say that although the bride-to-be did not invite our friend to the wedding, time did heal this wound and they are now on speaking terms again and they managed to forgive each other and focus on the friendship.
For the sake of the above conflict, it was not appropriate for me to ask my colleagues for advice on communication skills to resolve the above conflict.
O'Hair, D., & Wiemann, M. (2009). Retrieved: July 23, 2012. Real communication. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication. (n.d.). Retrieved: July 23, 2012. The center for nonviolent communication. Retrieved from www.cnvc.org



  1. Weddings are stressful events and conflict arises over many different issues. It was great that you could see the bride-to-be’s point of view and respect it. I understand about sometimes the issue not being about what you say but how you say it. I have found myself in that same situation and it typically just triggers more conflict. It is good that you used cooperative strategies to help resolve the conflict. It might not have worked at the moment but it might have been something they both thought about for a while. Both of the ladies involved might have thought about the other person’s view for weeks after the conflict and that could have impacted their ability to be friends again today. I am very glad that they have worked this conflict out and are speaking again.

  2. Nicky, I have to say that conflicts arise and we have to learn the best strategies for dealing with them. I am in a constant conflict with my son, but I am not giving up I am asking the Lord to step in and fix it because I can't.

  3. Nikon,

    I have always heard that its not what you say but how you say it. I think that you handled the situation productively but also took with you some aspects for learning and growth. Great communicating and well received tips and pieces of advice.


  4. Nicky,
    Time heals all wounds is a popular saying that almost always is true. I am glad that the friends are speaking again.
    Mary L.

  5. Nicky,
    Time heals all wounds is a popular saying that is almost always accurate. I am glad the bride and her friend are speaking again.
    Mary L.

  6. Sometimes our emotions can get the best of us, and Weddings are one of those high stress and emotional journeys. I like that you were able to stand up for what you believe in and that you recognized that your delivery of the message, maybe unintended, was offensive to your friend. I feel this course has taught us a lot on how to be effective speakers, as well as listeners, and attack mode, or defensive responses can insult others. Good post!


  7. I often worry about conflict resolution when both parties refuse to view the other perspective and no resolution can be made. I often think that some disputes can only be settled in time, when each party has worked through it on their own and the extreme anger has passed.

  8. Nickon,

    I'm sure the bride to be appreciated you standing up for her and her feelings. Just from reading your blog, I can tell that your intentions were not to hurt your other friends feelings you were just trying to get her to understand that as friends you all should be supportive of the bride and not bring any unnecessary stress to her. It takes a big person to admit and correct when they feel they have done something wrong. Great post!

  9. Nicky, I do appreciate your directness with your friend, and because a wedding is stressful enough for the bride, she needs all the support she can get; not a nagging friend who's finding the simplest things to complain about. But in all honesty maybe your directness was a bit harsh. We have to remember the "Platinum Rule" To treat other's in the way we want to be treated." And that applies to communicating with others the way we want other's to communicate with ourselves. I'm sure because you all care about the bride that you want the best for her, but you guys should have a say so in the colors that you wear as well. I found when planning my wedding that collaboration is very important to have a successful but beautiful wedding. You 'want' be able to please everybody, but you will be able to be on mutual terms. I hope you two have resolved your friendship, because that's what important at this point. Great Post!