What I Learned About Dealing With Conflict From Doing The Dishes

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I think I might be allergic to doing the dishes. At least that’s what I keep telling my wife.

Whenever she notices the dishes piling up I get a friendly reminder that it might be time to do something about the Leaning Tower of Plates that has accumulated in the sink. I try to remind her that I would, but whenever I get close enough to actually do the dishes I begin to feel queasy and light-headed. I explain that the doctors haven’t officially diagnosed my form of dish allergy yet, but their hard at work on it.

She isn’t buying it.

I hate doing the dishes. I know, I know; if I just did them every night after dinner it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But most nights I skip other them because I’m tired and I have other things I’d like to do. Before too long the stack of dishes has piled halfway between the sink and then ceiling. I figure if it isn’t touching the roof then it isn’t really a problem yet, right?

I think a lot of us work this way in our relationships. We don’t do anything about the hurt and frustration that people cause us. We get more and more irritated but never really say anything about it until one day, much like the day I actually do the dishes, we realize there’s a whole pile of things that need to be dealt with in the relationship.

Most people don’t like dealing with conflict. Most people also don’t like it when you come at them with a bunch of reasons why you’re mad at them either. When we make the time to talk to people about what’s bothering us before it becomes the Mt Kilimanjaro of confrontations it may not turn out as Nightmare on Elm Street-ish as we imagine it in our head.

Take stock of your relationships. Talk to who’s hurt you, but do it in the right way and do it soon.

Don’t let the dishes pile up in your relationships (and don’t let them pile up in the sink either).

Where have the “dishes piled up” in your relationships right now? What can you do to make things better? Click here and share your thoughts.

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