Sunday, 9 September 2012

Resolving Interpersonal Conflicts

I found that when two individuals are too close to each other, meaning they stay together most of the time, interpersonal conflicts are unavoidable. No matter how similar the personalities they have and how much they share the same kinds of hobbies, there will be instances that they both want to slap  each other’s face. This is because all of us are unique in the world. We handle things differently and sense the world differently. Hence, I believe that a frequent communication will result in better interpersonal relationship.

I moved to a hostel when I was in the high school and lived in a two bedded room with another girl. That was also the first time I lived outside home with a stranger. Initially, everything was fine. As the time passed, we found ourselves having different kinds of living habits. Although most of them were very small issues, such as cleaning frequency, voice volume when answering to a phone and the sleeping time, we did not talk to each other about these and such issues mounted day after day.  These little unpleasant things in daily living made both of us feel very annoyed. None of us wanted to take a step back. Then it developed to the situation that we seldom talked in the room. I even tried to spend more time in common rooms in hostel rather than in the room.

Until there was one day that I felt the situation unbearable, I started to talk to her about the issues in our room. I talked about my unhappiness with the cleanness of the room and the annoying light came from her desk at night which gave me a hard time falling asleep. On the other hand, she also expressed her unhappiness about other areas. I still remember that we had a very long talk that day. In the end, both of us became more aware of the other’s feeling and watched ourselves’ behaviors in the room more often. Although we did not manage to solve the conflict totally, we manage to know the importance of expressing the unhappiness out rather than keeping it to ourselves.

Compromise is a way to solve the conflicts, however we always need a talk before that. How do you think?

edited 12/09


  1. Hi Jon Wei,

    I think its a great thing what you did there! We forget how just speaking out our issues is a great way to solve problems. I used to have a similar problem with my family and friends as well. I kept things bottled up for a long time. I am trying to change that way of doing things and its so much more rewarding!

    Compromise is a great way to solve things. It might not give us maximum success, but definitely worth a shot to smoothen the tense nerves!

    1. Hi Dhanya!
      Maybe we have been brought up in a way that to change ourselves in order to suite others. I was not used to express my own feelings and worried about the appropriateness of it. Then I realized being a "muted" person made my life harder. However, to directly address unhappiness to others may result in a big conflict, if that person involved is too self-centered. In the end, it is about the way to speak up, the choices for words, timing and manners.

  2. Hi Zhuang Wei!

    Being too close with someone will definitely increase the chance for interpersonal conflicts to occur. I can totally relate to that! Thanks for posting that! :)

    In this case, I think the problem lies on Asian culture that always try to avoid conflicts. Instead of making noises on the problem, we tend to compromise so much that we start hurting ourselves. But we will lose our patience sooner or later. Thus, I agree with your statement. We should talk before compromising.

    However, in my opinion, there are some words that you might want to change:
    1.) ...two individuals are too near to each other... -> ...two individuals are too close to each other... (the word 'close' seems more appropriate.)
    2.)...want to slap on each other’s face. -> want to slap each other's face/slap in each other's face. (I'm not sure which one is better though.)
    3.) ...we found ourselves have different kinds... -> we found ourselves having different kinds...
    4.) Although most of them are very small...-> Although most of them were very small...

    1. Thank you Teresa! I wrote the post in a hurry,did not read through it to check for the grammars! You must be reading very carefully to my post to point them out! I am really appreciate that!

    2. By the way, is Teresa your christian name also? Because I have one similar, Theresa:->

  3. Hi Zhuang Wei,

    I like your post because it is good structured. Your message is really clear.

    Moreover, it is really funny for me to see the conclusion of the conflict because it is approximately exactly what I have proposed for solving Serene's problem.
    Indeed, to me, you choose the right path for solving this interpersonal conflict. Thanks to this discussion, you have cleared the air and you have found good compromises for improving the situation.

    I have already lived with other persons in the same place (4 years ago and this year!) and those problems of communication are really common.
    The best thing is to write a contract at the beginning of the flatshare. Thanks to this contract, you create rules which should be respected for the good of everybody. I think it should be interesting to update this contract when new problems arise.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Maxime

      I always enjoy reading your comment. You never fail to bring up a different perspective to me. Actually, the conflict that I described above is a simple one. Normally, simple conflicts can always be solved by exchanging the feelings or ideas with each other, and compromising to each other. I believe that is why my conclusion is so close to Serene's.

      As for more complicated situations, such as yours, a simple compromising might not work well. I think we need to involve in strategies and prioritizing our aims.

      Anyway, I miss to live with others! It is much more fun! I guess you live in a suite in Tembusu right now. Tembusu is really a sweet place to live. I used to see a "contract" on a boys' suite too!I still remember one of the rules inside it, as it was very funny: "No girls at night,unless they are hot."


  4. Hi Zhyang wel~~!!

    i think it is a funny story,because i have a similar experience!!!
    when i was high school student, i also lived in dormitory with my friend.
    but we didn't speak much so we couldn't share our thought
    (because that time was so busy to each other)
    since that situation, we still cannot keep in touch very friendly
    after reading your posting, i'd like to contact my fried who was lived in our room.

    Anyway i found some wrong sentences. So if u correct these sentence, it is better story~^^

    we found ourselves have different kinds of living habits.
    -> this sentence has two verb (found and have) so i think
    'we found ourselves having different kinds of living habits' is right

    Although most of them are very small issues,
    -> in this sentence, your verb tense is past all the paragraph, so maybe you have to change are-> were

    thank you and see you later ~!!! *^^*

  5. Hey hey!

    I am sorry, I can't read Korean, I don't know whether you're yu jin or bongjin?

    Thank you for pointing out my grammar mistakes!

    My roommate that I mentioned above is actually an easy going person. Therefore, it was quite easy for me to solve the problem and got along with her.However I believe that there are always some people with certain characteristics that we can not really get along with, not to mention to live together. Hence, if you found that it was hard to talk to your roommate-used-to-be. Perhaps, let it go? ha ha. We have too much more things to concern about, but if you want to pick up a connection with them, then maybe you should talk to them. One more good friend is always a good thing.

    P.S. Sun Yeon Zae is so pretty! You know her right? haha

  6. Hi Zhuang Wei,
    I like that you brought up the fact that LIVING together takes relationships to a whole different level in terms of necessity of effective communication. To be friends with someone and living with them are totally different, the latter requiring a lot more effort to make it work. I’ve had cases where living with some one totally made me see the person differently from before and it actually made me find him/her so repulsive that we could no longer hangout.
    Sorry to hear about your incident, being a really light sleeper, it is exactly what I’m afraid of so I tend to go for single rooms. Seems though that you more or less settled it such that you got the best outcome possible (alternative would be to move out but that’s extreme).
    Compromise tends to be the way to solve conflicts in my opinion, but I’m being increasingly told that it is subjective. It definitely depends on the other party, sometimes giving way just makes them test your limit over and over again. A talk is probably essential, especially if you are looking for common ground. You need to converse in order to find out to what extent should your compromise cover and is it justifiable when matched to the other party’s willingness to do his/her part. Even so, there are those whom talking doesn’t work as well.
    Some minor changes I propose:
    i) “... similar the/THEIR personalities and kinds of hobbies THEY SHARE... instances WHERE/WHEN...” sound better?
    ii) “... I believe that a frequent...” remove the “a”.
    iii) “... was in the high school” remove “the”?
    iv) “... ANSWERING/USING a phone...” remove “to”.
    v) I’m not too sure if this is better than your phrase which is ok but would “...each other about these ISSUES and THEY mounted...” help emphasize cause and effect link?
    vi) “NEITHER of us wanted to take a step back” help to emphasize that it’s just 2 of you?
    vii) “situation WHERE we seldom...”?
    viii) “common rooms WITHIN THE hostel...” sound better?
    ix) “FINALLY, there was one day WHEN I felt the situation TO BE unbearable,...” sound better?
    x) “VOICED my unhappiness...” just a small suggestion to prevent using “talk” consecutively (which is fine).
    xi) “CLEANLINESS... light (THAT came)/(COMING)...”
    xii) “aware of EACH other’s feelingS and watched OUR OWN behaviours...” sound better?
    xiii) “manageD to REALISE/LEARN/DISCOVER...” help to emphasize cause and effect?
    xiv) “WHAT do you think?” sound better?

  7. Hi Zhuang Wei,

    Talking the issue at hand and then compromise, I find, is usually the way problems work out. It is when after both or all parties have had their say (when they are not overly emotional or unreceptive to comments) that they will feel better because they have shared their feelings. It is not good to keep all these negative feelings inside of us because it may be toxic and then we cannot take it anymore, we would explode. We should address the problem earlier. Just like you and your roommate, if you and her had shared how uncomfortable or annoying the habits you guys had, I feel that your time spent there might have been more enjoyable and you would not have to take the trouble to avoid your room. Who knows, you and her might have had a better friendship.

    Overall, I feel that your post is concise, concrete and the sequence of events is nicely organised into paragraphs. Good job! :)

  8. I laughed when I read your first paragraph, Zhuang Wei, and this sentence: "No matter how similar the personalities they have and how much they share the same kinds of hobbies, there will be instances that they both want to slap each other’s face. "

    You go on and illustrate very well this "principle" with a personal experience. Overall, I really appreciate your honest reflection and this clear, concise description. However, you've actually solved the problem that you were supposed to have posed for the reader. You mention the key word, "Compromise."

    So what feedback do you want from us, an agreement that compromise is vital?

    For that reason, you've actually gone an inch beyond the request of the assignment. Do you see?

    1. Thank you very much Brad! I know it is been quite late in replying to your comment. However, I read it immediately after you posted, I just been lazy those days. Another reason I was not really sure about what to reply on.
      I know that you will be laughing at that sentence! It is more like an American way of expressing things. To point out undesirable staff directly rather than taking a detour to do that. Sometimes going into direct in more effective as it sets things simple and straight.