Readers will have noticed that I have been talking about conflict from time to time. I'm especially interested in how it is managed within families, and also close relationships with partners, etc.
New Zealanders (and I'm making a huge generalization here, I know...) often seem to struggle with conflict. And of course, they are not the only ones to do so. In Kiwi Land, it is often denied, or, in the extreme, it is continually present and mismanaged, to the point that it becomes exhausting, and kills the relationship. And sometimes people in the relationship...
I've had a lot of opportunity to observe New Yorkers over the last few weeks, whilst I've been out and on the go. I've seen a lot of public & semi-public interactions, and heard people on phones, observed them relating to their 'significant others.' This got me wondering about how they 'do' conflict. Bottom line is, I don't think they do it any better. Yet (and again, to generalize is not good), they can be so loud, and 'out there.' And, here's the thing- what often sounds (to my sensitive Kiwi ears) like conflict, quite extreme conflict in fact, such as people ranting, people yelling at each other, has often not turned out to be conflict at all (it took me a while to figure this out...). Just people relating to each other New York style,in a vocal and often demonstrative way, and a manner that we are less likely to see in our part of the world. At least in public, anyway. I'm not saying they manage conflict better- in fact I'm pretty sure they don't. But at least they 'tell it like it is', they don't smile quietly through gritted teeth, saying all the while that everything is fine, when clearly it is not..
Meanwhile, down in beautiful Mexico, it is even hotter than NYC...Something I would not have thought possible. This is my second visit, and I'm reminded again that the focus on family is huge, as is the case in many Latin American countries. I've been making the most of the early part of the day which is the coolest, to enjoy the ocean. And at 7am, there have been families, sometimes with three generations present, all quietly (or not so quietly,as the case may be) sitting in the water,enjoying some time to connect, before the demands of the day kick in. Who knows what it means for family relationship functioning overall- it certainly can't do any harm...
To get some useful pointers for managing conflict in relationships, jump right over here....
"Some occasional thoughts about families, relationships, and other things that distract us...."