If you're alive, you've had 'em. Starting with you screaming as a baby and your mother not feeding you fast enough (conflict of interest - she was more interested in sleeping, perhaps), then the toys your sandbox buddy wouldn't share (conflict of power - whoever has the toy is boss, and she likes being boss), the list goes on and on.

The interesting thing in my opinion is how dealing with conflicts shapes us as a person. We're so focused on our needs as a child that we rarely make compromises willingly - we simply have to because we just don't get our way all the time. So, we learn to cope with setbacks and how to lose some of our battles more or less gracefully. When you think back to your own childhood, what do you remember about conflicts and how you dealt with them? Which strategies did you employ in order to get your way, and are some of them still working for you today?

What about conflicts and fights in school, were you often cited into the headmaster's office? Have you ever been afraid of standing up for what you believe in because it went against the common assumption, and you didn't want to face the disapproving stare of your classmates? Are you experiencing the same situations in your worklife today?

Personally, I find conflicts and fighting within couples, in relationships, among life-partners most interesting at the moment. Of course there are other fascinating aspects to conflict, such as the intrapersonal ones, the group phenomenon, and of course conflicts on an international scale, and I might get back to those at a later date. But for now I'm going to keep this post short and sweet, because I'd like to ask you for a favour and help me with this survey. It's called "Happily ever after?" and I am interested in finding out how couples fight, about which topics, how they deal, and how they feel about it all.*

From these findings I hope to be able to extrapolate the strategies that most effectively aid in making any personal conflict situation the least painful and as productive as possible. This survey consists of 20 questions, on the first page there's six about you; on the second page you find nine about the actual fighting process; on the third page I've included five questions about feelings and strategies, and then there's one final page with a request for feedback about the survey itself.

How are you and your partner doing it? Where's the line between compromising and giving up? I look forward to your input and will share the findings with you after I get a representative sample of completed questionnaires.

*This survey is now closed. Please find the results in this post, Happily Ever After.

Thank you for your help, and til next time!

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