How to Deal With Conflict (A Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Guide)

Mark Manson

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Hello there, friend. What’s that I hear? You’re pissed off at someone? Someone is pissed off at you? You have a fight in your life and you don’t know what to do? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Whether it’s with your mom, your aunt, your best friend Stan, or maybe even the mailman, I’ve got the solution to all your relationship problems!

Below is a “Choose Your Own Adventure” for resolving your conflict. Yes, my friend, your conflict is an adventure. A rage-infused shit-festering adventure full of four-letter words and smashed cell phone screens, I’m sure. But an adventure nonetheless.

Simply start with the first question below and navigate yourself to the end. By the end, you’ll know exactly what to do about your conflict.

If not, well then fuck you, buddy:

But even if there’s not a flaming dumpster fire of a relationship in your life right now, reading through each decision tree is still a worthwhile exercise in not being a terrible human being. I invite you to follow along at home. So, let’s get to it!

Question #1: Are You Trying to Change the Other Person and/or Are They Trying to Change You?

By “change the other person,” I mean are either of you trying to change the other person’s personality, habits, and/or values? You want them to be more social or less social, or more jealous or less jealous, or from the north instead of the south or from the south instead of the north. You want to change their character, their culture, their way of life.

  • If you are trying to change them, go to ENDING #1A
  • If they are trying to change you, go to ENDING #1B
  • If neither of you are trying to change the other person, go to QUESTION #2

Ending #1A: You Are Trying to Change the Other Person

In two words: stop it. It’s a losing battle. You can’t change people. The most you can do is set an example in hopes that they change themselves. This is the fundamental principle of having good boundaries. And any relationship that doesn’t have good boundaries will inevitably turn to shit.

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Mark Manson

Author of #1 NYTimes Bestseller ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck’. OG Blogger. Psychology Nerd. I enjoy cats and whiskey. But not at the same time.