Engage Thoughtfully, Act Passionately: The Personal Side of School-Home-Work Balance

So these past few weeks have been nothing short of busy. Alongside my independent study, coursework, and actual work, I have been highly involved with my college’s student governance. Things can get stressful and I have often talked about the need for “balance.” But what happens when you get so lost in balancing school and work  that you forget about your personal relationships with friends and family? I have found that when things get rough, the first thing I tend to do is sacrifice my downtime with friends. However, this ends up often backfiring and causing ruptures in my personal life. Recently, I got into a disagreement with one of my closest friends over something that was work-related. Both of us are involved with advocating for reforms at our college, and unfortunately we ended up butting heads over So, with this experience in mind, I have compiled a list on how best to resolve a conflict with a friend and take care of your relationships with the people who mean the most to you: 1. Think about whether what your feelings need to be said immediately. At times, if you don’t resolve the conflict immediately, the opportunity may lost. But if you get lost in the heat of the moment, you could only make the conflict worse. Blog 1 In my case, I felt like I needed time to process what I was feeling in that moment. I was lost in my thoughts about everything I had to get done, so I couldn't focus on what was happening, which affected my actions accordingly. 2. Consider your surroundings and each other’s state of mind. The next time you are at the cusp of an argument, check to see whether you or your friend are tired or under other stress? Are you in an ideal place right now to have a heartfelt talk? Blog 2 At the time of our argument, my friend and I were at work, so I knew it was not the ideal time and place for either of us to speak properly. 3. Choose face-to-face NOT #FacebookTwittertextSnapChatetc. I have found speaking in person is always better when talking about something important- tweets, texts, and Facebook messages (stickers included), are a no-go. Also don’t assume one talk will resolve everything. Blog 3 If you begin a difficult conversation starting from a place of controlled emotion and grace, the path will be smoother. Also, bringing up old, irrelevant issues I find is usually not a good idea. 4. Listen more than you talk. Blog 4 I always have an issue with this, and because I know that, I normally regret taking up too much time after talking with someone. Just remember that it is important to be heard but if you are not listening, the conversation is pointless. 5. Don’t avoid the feels- acknowledge the feels!   Blog 5 If you acknowledge your friend is angry or hurt, it is easier to contextualize the harsh words you may be hearing. In hindsight, my friend’s feelings were perfectly justified in the situation and were coming not from a place of negativity but from  a place of caring and genuine concern. 6. Know that true friendships can weather the occasional conflict. Blog 6 The foundation of all friendships is honesty and trust. It’s okay to be wrong, or sad, or just stressed out from time to time. Conflicts in many ways are just learning opportunities. So, next time my friend and I saw each other, we both immediately apologized. Since we both recognized our faults in the fight, we both were able to move on as friends and as better people. What is your advice in times of personal conflict? Let me know in the comments below! Hope this helps, Haley

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