I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy á la Mean Girls (2004). I wish I could bake any sort of cake, really, to help me get through this week. Actually, I wish I could bake, period, since my lack of talent in the kitchen is so nonexistent it’s bordering on negative, but that’s a story for another day.
Conflict arises when people want opposite, mutually exclusive things. For example, on Fridays, I’m in conflict with my professor when he expects attendance at my 8:30 AM lecture and I expect to get more than six hours of sleep. I’m often in conflict with my housemates when they want to have significant others over and I don’t want to be wearing clothes. I’m usually even in conflict with my best friends about whose house to pregame at, since although we all live roughly 47 seconds apart, our laziness is truly remarkable.
The sad truth of the matter is that conflict is a part of everyday life, and we’ve just got to learn to deal with it as best we can. But, not to fear: Here are several tried-and-true methods for resolving conflict that are bound to end with you riding off into the rainbow sunset on a unicorn, or at the very least getting your way.
Method 1: Focus on your own point of view. Group members say you’re not pulling your weight? Kindly inform them that you are absolutely slammed with work this week, as you’ve fallen three episodes behind on “House of Cards” (2013-present) and absolutely need to catch up before “Game of Thrones” (2011-present) kicks in as well. Plus you bought some ingredients for two new recipes you want to try, and it’s crucial you do those ASAP before your imported zucchini goes mushy. Remember, it’s you that you’ve got to think about; no one looks out for your own best interests better than you.
Method 2: Intimidation. If you approach a confrontation with a calm, reasonable attitude, everyone will instantly target you as the one most likely to cave in and take a bad “compromise.” Instead, make sure to arrive all guns blazing: Impassioned shouting, obscene hand gestures and crazy eyes are all good places to start (extra points for kicking the door down). If you prefer the more subtle route, work your Russian mafia connections into the conversation or casually adjust your jacket to reveal your loaded Glock. Intimidation tactics have been propelling dictators to absolute domination for centuries, and if that’s not a tried-and-true strategy for avoiding compromise, I don’t know what is.
Method 3: Passive-aggressiveness. Some people just don’t have the guts to make mob acquaintances while abroad (it’s all about the networking) and may prefer a less bloody approach. Enter passive-aggressiveness, the tactic favored by middle school girls and opposing parties of Congress. Here, it’s all about letting the other person know you’re displeased with them without actually spelling it out. What makes this so fun is that you can get quite creative in how you communicate your irritation: Procrastinate doing things they want you to do, speak to them only in monosyllabic words, or — if you’ve really got it out for them — turn your read receipts on and ignore their texts regardless (the ultimate power move).
The takeaway from all this is that while cake may be nice (seriously, hit me up if you’ve got some), there’s nothing quite like sticking a severed horse head in someone’s bed. Go get ‘em!