Sitcom conflict review

Use the summary of the sitcom provided and analyze the type of conflict portrayed by the characters in a four paragraph essay. Your paper should then discuss the type(s) of conflict management strategies used by the characters (discussed in this module) to manage the problem using the terminology discussed in the lesson.

Summary of sitcom:
D.J. and Kimmy go to a college fraternity party, where Kimmy is very nervous. To loosen herself up, she takes a drink, and then another … and it isn’t long before she gets very drunk. An embarrassed D.J. takes Kimmy’s car keys and forcibly removes her from the party. When Kimmy realizes she is back at the Tanners, Kimmy gets very angry and wants to return. After all, she was just getting loose and drawing the attention of several cute guys; Kimmy’s view of what had happened are played out through flashbacks. However, D.J. eventually manages to tell what really happened: Kimmy was acting like a fool and jerk, and insulting everyone; the party hosts were going to kick Kimmy out of the party. Kimmy admits this was the truth, but then says why should D.J. care. A tearful D.J. reveals that her mother had died in a car accident caused by a drunk driver just a few years earlier. Kimmy is enlightened and, woefully remorseful, apologizes for what happened.

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Module lesson:
The struggle that takes place when two people believe their needs cannot be met simultaneously.

When was the last time you were involved in a conflict? There are many myths about conflict that we have been brought up believing including:

Conflict must always be bad or hurt the relationship
Conflict is the sign of an abnormal relationship
Conflict should be resolved quickly
All conflicts can be solved

Where does conflict come from? It can happen anywhere at any time, but there are 5 sources of conflict we can find ourselves facing.

Sources of conflict

Perceptual Bias – When two people see the world differently. (i.e. the abortion debate).
Interdependence – Comes from forgetting that your decisions affect someone else. (i.e. forgetting to call a friend on her birthday)
Goals – Comes from each person wanting something different (i.e. I want to see a comedy; I want to see a drama)
Resources – Comes from not agreeing on how to manage the finances (i.e. I want to buy a tv; I want to buy a vacuum)
Outside Interference – Comes from a third party getting in the way of two other participants. (i.e. My mother-in-law comes to live with us)

Even though conflict can come from anywhere, it can only do one of two things to your relationship. Either it will turn out to be:

Constructive – Both participants leave the conflict feeling better about themselves and the relationship


Destructive – At least one person leaves the conflict feeling worse about themselves and the relationship.

Obviously we want the constructive outcome, but how do we get there?

Conflict Management Strategies

Avoidance – Either physically or psychologically leaving the conflict. Can be constructive OR destructive. The person being left behind will feel worse, but sometimes it prevents a conflict from escalating.
Competition – Results in one person “winning” the conflict and once person “losing”. Can be constructive OR destructive. The “loser” will often feel worse, but it can be done in a friendly way.
Accommodation – One person gives in to the other and gets nothing in return. Can be constructive OR destructive. The person who gets nothing could feel worse, but it can be helpful if done in a balanced way or during minor conflicts.
Compromise – Each person gives something up to get something in return. Can be constructive OR destructive. Helpful if done fairly, but can lead to buyer’s remorse where one person feels taken advantage of.
Collaboration – Both participants work together to come up with a mutually agreeable outcome. can ONLY be constructive. So why don’t people do it?

It takes longer

Both people have to be willing to do it

Both people must know how

Techniques for Collaboration

Avoid being dogmatic
Watch your nonverbal signals
Choose your verbal communication carefully
Pick the context you collaborate in mindfully
Use the listening skills learned in the previous module

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