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Discomfort

Discomfort

Author: Marlene Johnson
Description:

At the end of this tutorial, the learner will understand the discomfort stage of conflict

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Tutorial

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Do you know that vague feeling you get of discomfort, something's not quite right, you feel it in your gut? That's discomfort and it's actually a stage of conflict. I'm Marlene, and today I'd like to discuss the discomfort stage of conflict with you in this tutorial.

But first let's step back and review. Broadly speaking we can look at conflict in three large phases. There's the pre-conflict stage, when something may be brewing, but you're not really aware of what it is. Things feel OK at this point. Then of course there's conflict, and post-conflict when things are resolved.

So discomfort is the first stage of conflict. So let's define discomfort. What is the discomfort stage? Well the discomfort stage is that stage of a conflict in which parties are aware of their needs not being met but are not exactly aware of the details of each others' role in needs not being met.

So for example, you are someone who likes to host gatherings in your home. You enjoyed cooking. And you're starting to feel uncomfortable because you have a lot of relatives. And when they come to town, it always seems like you're putting it on in your home. And it just seems to become the tradition and all the work is falling on you. And your noticing that others really aren't offering to chip in. No one's really offering to have it in their home. And yes, they'll bring some things to your house, they'll bring some side dishes. But you're starting to feel uncomfortable with this arrangement. You're feeling like it's all on you.

Or perhaps it's at work. And there's been some changes at work. You've always enjoyed a good challenge on your job, but recently you've been asked to take on more. And some of the assignments you've been asked to take on actually have to do with something a coworker used to do. And you don't feel quite comfortable with those tasks. You feel like you haven't received the training, you're not quite sure, but you're feeling a little bit uncomfortable in your gut about this extra work you've been asked to do.

Or you have the new neighbors next door. And you're noticing that there are a lot of people over there and their yard just seems to be messy. You don't know quite how to describe it, but things don't seem to be kept up the way they used to be when the other neighbors lived there. You're feeling a little uncomfortable about that. Just about the way they're keeping up or not keeping up their property.

So it's important to know that this discomfort stage is often where conflict begins. We first notice it here and so this is often where it begins. And it's the easiest to resolve a conflict if you step in early. And this would be the earliest point at which you could step in. Because at this point, it's fresh and you can nip it in the bud.

For example, go back to hosting in your home, at this stage are starting to feel uncomfortable. Like it might be a little much. So you call your sister, she also lives in the same town, and you explain the situation. You say, you know I enjoy having people over, but it's starting to feel like a lot. Would you ever consider having them at your home? How could you step in or how could we work together and share this when people come to town? You could open up that dialogue with your sister or some other family member that you feel comfortable talking to.

Or with the neighbors, you might mention that you've noticed that the trash hasn't been picked up the last couple times and you're wondering about this. You begin to open up a conversation here about your concerns. About what you're seeing in their property.

So these are a couple of examples how opening dialogue early on in this discomfort stage can make it easier and more effective in resolving the conflict.

So thank you for being part of this tutorial. And I look forward to seeing you next time.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Discomfort Stage

    The stage of a conflict in which parties are aware of their needs not being met but are not exactly aware of the details of each others' role in needs not being met.