How to deal with conflict

I used to hate conflict. Try to avoid it at all costs until I went quiet and just had to leave the room. Sometimes, these urges and old habits come back and I just want to run and hide under a rock. But I think as we grow and learn more and more about ourselves and our values, you don’t want to do this. Instead, you want to stand up for yourself and deal with it in a healthy and productive way. This is something I’m still learning and trying to master, but conflict and awkward moments are just something we all have to deal with. So here are my ways to deal with it effectively and with as little drama as possible like this guy below.

What you want to avoid. Source
What you want to avoid. Source

Respect. It’s important to respect the other person you’re talking to. Yes they may have different opinions or perspectives on things but that’s OK. It would be boring if we were all the same. You want your opinion to be respected to it’s vital that you acknowledge their point of view.

Understanding. Along with respect is understanding. You need to understand that everyone comes from a different family, background and way of life. By understanding and trying to put yourself in their shoes, you’ll ensure that you’re not attacking them.

Confidence. Speak with confidence and conviction. If you believe that LGBT people have a right to marriage, then say it loud and proud. If you’re interested in a particular issue, you’ll arleady know a lot of information about it (a recent protest or march, a celebrity that advocates for it, the positive effects it will have on society…).

It's OK to express yourself. Source
It’s OK to express yourself. Source

Educate. If you’ve already done the above things, try and educate the other person about why Viola Davis winning an emmy is such a significant thing. If the other person is respecting you and trying to understand where you’re coming from, they’ll be more than happy to listen and learn from you. As long as it’s reciprocated.

Stick to your beliefs. Of course it’s difficult when someone is questioning and criticising what you believe in. However that doesn’t make it any less valuable. If it’s something you truly believe in and advocate for, then one persons criticism really wan’t effect that.

Walk away. If you’ve covered all of the above, and the person you’re talking with is still attacking your words, questioning and criticising what you’re saying, then just leave that conversation alone. You don’t need to make everyone believe what you believe and think what you think. You’re just trying to share some light on why you’re passionate about feminism or One Direction, you’re not trying to brainwash them. But if the other person isn’t respecting or trying to understand you, then maybe they’re not worth talking to.

Don’t hold grudges. Holding grudges doesn’t get anyone anywhere. There’s no use resenting someone becuase they said they hated French movies that one time. Just accept that everyone is different and will have different opinions on which colour jelly bean is the best.

So remember, it’s totally fine to have heated or intense discussions. They’re stimulating, interesting and allow you to express how passionate or concerned about something you are. These are just some of my little tips to do so in a productive and respectful way.

Do you have any tips of tricks that I’ve missed? Share them in the comments below!

The Importance of An Insider’s Perspective

We keep what we have, by giving it away.” – Eric Lassiter – humanity

So now that we have a general understanding of ethnographic research, why is it so important? What’s the big deal? Personally, I believe many of the world’s problems stem from a lack of genuine understanding or misinterpretation of a situation.  Everyone’s culture, beliefs, outlook, perspecitves, values and way of understanding life are different, so it only makes sense when we try to fix a problem, that we consult directly with the people it affects.

An example of this misunderstanding and lack of effective communication is the Live Aid and Make Poverty History campaigns led by Bono and Bob Geldof. The whole initiative started when Bob Geldof saw confronting images on TV of malnourished children living in poverty on the brink of death in Africa. So their solution was to raise money. Awesome… Or is it?

Left to right: Prime Minsiter of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi,  US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil and Bono.
Left to right: Prime Minsiter of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil and Bono.

Their campaigning created awareness in the public, who then urged politicians to jump on board, to change legislation, and donate more foreign aid, and that money would be given directly to Ethiopia….’s President, Meles Zenawi’s pocket, who stole the election and who’s governmet is corrupt. Whilst this issue is a huge one and I’m not offering a single solution to poverty itself, Bono and Bob probably could’ve made a lot more of a significant impact if they discussed issues of poverty, development, agriculture and livlihood with Ethiopian people.

Collaborative research is research based on a ‘greater and deeper relationship between the researcher and the people being researched’ (Clerke & Hopwood, 2014) and implies ‘constant mutual engagement at every step of the process.’ (Lassiter, 2005). If the work you’re researching is hoping to make changes to a community, it should completely benefit the community and not be influenced by corporation power. Instead of contantly asking what you can gain from this research, you should be asking what the community wants and needs to change. This may direct your research in a different yet more rewarding and impactful way.

Source
Source

So how can we relate all of this back to TV and the media space? Well thinking of my Grandparents and listening to them talk about when they first received a TV. There’s so many side stories and aspects that we could’ve discussed. What were the rules in front of the TV? Who got to sit on the lounge and who sat on the floor? Where did the children sit? Did they still play and talk whilst the TV was on? How much did it cost? Did you have to sacrifice other things to have a TV? Did you still listen to the radio? So many questions that arise from a simple conversation, and this is probably the biggest deterent from participating in collaborative ethnographic research, it takes a lot of time.

However, if we are willing to sacrifice our time, patience and understanding, like the quote above says ‘we keep what we have, by giving it away,’ what is it? I think it’s our compassion, empathy and understanding, and it’s important to hold onto it in order to make the world a better place and learn more about people from an insider’s perspective.

References

Clerke. T & Hopwood. N 2014, Doing Ethnography in Teams, Springer, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-05618-0_2

Lassiter. E 2005, The Chicago guide to collaborative ethnography, University of Chicago Press