Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone said that it takes a great deal of bravery to stand against your enemies, but it takes a great deal more to stand against your friends. This is true and proven well in our everyday interactions with our friends. There comes a time when a part of ourselves, our conscience, disagree with a sinister-like plan mapped out with our closest acquaintances. Peer pressure has led many young people to give in. But for those youth who are enlightened by the option of saying no and have great concern for the consequences the planned action can cost their friends, they back out and ask them to give up the idea.
This asking can lead to conflicts and arguments which can harm relationships, especially with the young. On this reason many just keep their mouths shut, afraid that speaking against the plan can ruin their friendship. But those who have the bravery to stand up against their friends know that it is the right thing to do, to save their friends from demise. The conflict that arises from this bravery is worthy of analysis. This essay will relate the five principles of interpersonal conflicts and introduce tips that will help those brave ones from adapting in the situation and coping with the consequences that will follow.
Conflicts are inevitable and are present everywhere even in the slightest and the most irrelevant discussions (DeVito, p. 286). At the revelation of the plan, let’s say, shoplifting or vandalism, the “good boy” will certainly be bothered by his conscience and hesitates on joining the group in what they are about to do. He fears that they may get caught and be put to the juvenile hall, or worse, write 1000 lines of “i will never do it again.” On this fear he thinks of stopping them, but is also afraid of the conflicts that may rise. The brave ones know that conflict between friends are normal, and will go on stopping them and will bear the consequences, of being thrown off the group.
Conflicts have positive and negative effects and it depends on the person which will transpire. The case presented above can have either good or bad effects when taken cared of well or wrongly (p. 287). The approach utilized by the boy to address the situation can dictate the outcome of the conflict. When he decided to speak up and does so threateningly he is up to real trouble with his friends.
They will react to it grudgingly and may think that he’s going to spoil the plan. He can be mistrusted and isolated from the group. But when the boy talked considerately to them about the consequences that might happen if they pursue the plan and raised his concern for everyone’s safety, his case may be highly regarded. The case now depends on the orientation of his friends, whether they hate friends who chicken out or listen to suggestions of well-mannered persons.
The case may question the position and right of the boy to stand against the plan or it may focus on alternative actions where they can use up their curiosity and sense for adventure. Conflicts can focus on content and/or relationship issues. The boy who will question the plan can be faced by both unrelated or personal issues.
Content issues involve those that do not concern him or his friends personally, like arguing for the best alternatives. Relationship issues are those that involve them as members of a group and issues that concern them as persons (p. 288). Arguments that follow which implies their individual status within the group, their respect for one’s capacity to discern the consequences of stealing and vandalism, or the possibilities of telling their parents of the plan (this can have more negative effects afterwards) are considered to be personal issues in the case.
There are five styles of handling conflicts – avoiding, competing, accomodating, collaborating, and compromising (p. 288). The avoiding style implies indifference, and the boy in the case will not speak up against nor join the group pursuing the plan. He will most likely hide in his room and not meet his friends until the plan is forgotten or has been accomplished without his cooperation. The competing style argues aggresively about a point. The boy will apparently stop his friends from doing the plan, but the focus will be on his own safety and welfare and not on his friends. The accommodating style will imply the boys concern for another’s interest and most likely he will just allow them or even join them in pursuing the plan.
By collaborating both gets the best possible solution without infringed interests. The plan is meant to satisfy adventurous ideas common to young people. By discussing to the group other alternatives where they can use up their energy, the group can reach an agreement where everyone’s interests are satisfied. A compromise brings a group to a desirable agreement and solution but may cost some interests. The group can find diversions which will not really satisfy their sense for adventure. This can produce desirable results but surely, no one will be in juvenile hall.
Apparently, what created the conflict is the difference between the boy’s culture and those of the rest of the group. Culture affects conflicts (p. 290). What prompted him to disagree is his moral and ethical orientation, brought up early by his parents who go to church regularly every sunday. He knows that destroying one’s property by writing nonsense on it or stealing from other people is wrong and faces grave consequences when done.
This difference in culture also affects how he will handle himself in a conflict and possibly how he can handle others. His bravery and strength of character will allow him to stay calm while arguing with his friends, and this temperament may also cause his friends to consider his case and reach for an agreed solution.
There are ways to improve the situation and these involve the constant value of equality. In a group, or let us say in a two-man relationship, we must always keep in mind the individual rights and cultural preferences in the relationship. By knowing their importance and their value we can reach a solution where everyone’s interest is satisfied.
First, the boy should follow his heart and recommend to stop the plan in a nice manner, as what is expected of him being a good natured young man. He should never be afraid of conflicts, they will help him progress. Conflicts are always present in every situation, on what the boy should do and exert his energy for is making the right solution and maintaing the right attitude.
Second, he should maintain a positive attitude in dealing with the situation to produce positve solutions. His friends may be enthusiastic and excited about the plan, and an opposition may not be tolerable and welcome. They may react grudgingly but that shouldn’t stop his concern for his friends. Employing a negative attitude can aggravate the situation and cause further conflicts which may leave him out of the group. By looking at it positively and maintining his positive traits can he produce positive solutions.
He must think of an approach which will not raise, or at least minimize, personal conflicts. Words like, “you’re really bad,” “nothing good comes out of you,” “you’re mama will not be proud,” etc. cause more problems because of their personal attack. Conflicts have both content and relationship issues, and the best way to look deal with it in this case is by focusing on the content. Instead of focusing on personal differences, the boy should look at the undesirable aspects of the plan, and not on the people who thought of it.
The ideal style is collaboration. However, this may not be attainable at all times. Still, the group should always consider everyone’s interest, no one should be left out. Think of other ways where satisfaction can be met, without bringing harm to anybody.
Lastly, know everyone’s culture. Once the boy has learned of their cultural differences, the belief and moral orientation of his friends, he can approach them well without causing harm and aggravating the situation.
It really takes much bravery to stand against your closest friends. Apparently, being good is not always easy. Conflict is always around whenever we have differences in our points and interests. No matter what, we should always think of conflicts as opportunities for progress and approach them positively to create positive solutions. Respect each one’s culture but maintain a righteous stature. Look for the best solution, that is, the best solution for everyone. A solution that is fair promotes progress and improves relationships.
DeVito, Joseph A. The Interpersonal Communication Book. 10th Edition. Allyn and Bacon 2003.