“Give it Time” Part 2 – Why Does it Work?

When you’re in the midst of conflict with someone it may be helpful to “give it time.” Allow them to consider their position and revisit the discussion at a later time, rather than pushing them into talking in that moment.

What happens when you “give it time”?

  1. You’re showing respect to the other person and their needs. You aren’t insisting that your priority instantly become their priority. You’re allowing them to have autonomy to choose a time that works for them. The other person is likely to recognize that and appreciate not being pressured.
  2. You’re demonstrating that your goal is a productive discussion rather than winning a fight. You’re willing to be patient and wait for a time that will be optimal for both of you. When the other person sees that you aren’t just out to bully them and win an argument they’re much more likely to relax and be willing to discuss alternative viewpoints.
  3. You’re keeping things calm and not activating the “fight, flight, or freeze” stress response in yourself or the other person. When people are stressed they will respond by “fight” (yelling, accusations, violence), “flight” (taking off, leaving abruptly, engaging in substance abuse or other sabotaging behaviours), or “freeze (avoiding the topic, refusing to talk, silent treatment). Any of these options will leave you further away from any resolution. When you “give it time” the other person won’t feel as stressed about the issue and will be much less likely to activate these damaging behaviours.

“Give it time” is a powerful conflict resolution tool to try. Try it out and let me know what difference it makes for you.

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