We’ve all heard the saying, “There are two sides to every story”, and if you’ve lived long enough, you haven’t just heard it, you’ve experienced the truth in that statement.   

Anyone alive and breathing is interacting with someone, somewhere, on some level.  Whether it’s with a spouse, children, parents, in-laws, bosses, employees, co-workers, friends, neighbors, someone on the other end of the line, so-on and so-forth, there will always be an opportunity, at some point, to consider the other side of a story.  It is just a known fact that disagreements and misunderstandings will happen.

But isn’t the other side of the story sometimes the last thing you want to hear?  It would be so much easier, and more satisfying, for the other side to just see our side!  

On the other hand, sometimes the other side is, in fact, the easier and more satisfying way, because this is how conflicts get resolved. 

Consider these two scenarios:  

1) Ms. M called into our office regarding a doctor bill she received.  She was unhappy and disputed her bill.  She was also prepared with all her information and documentation as to why she didn’t think she owed the bill. The collector was able to advise her on the next step to take, and I’m confident that, one way or another, this situation will be resolved.

2) Mr. J called and was unhappy about the bill he owes.  He did NOT want to discuss it and had no desire to resolve the conflict.  Rather than cooperating, he chose to hang up on the collector.  We will proceed in our attempt to collect the debt and he will most likely continue to avoid us and the original creditor.

Ms. M heard the other side of the story and was given the opportunity to present her side of it, which she did.  On the other hand, Mr. J was given the other side of the story and refused his opportunity to present his side.

Which one of the two do you think is walking around more empowered and at peace with their circumstances?  Which one do you think will be more accepting of the outcome?

You know, I said earlier that sometimes I don’t want to hear the other side of a story, but the truth is I don’t always want to give my side either.  I don’t want to take the time, or risk arguing, and I just want to hang-up (figuratively speaking, of course). This morning I got schooled again.

Conflict Resolution 101:  Getting the other side of the story and taking the opportunity to present your side of the story.