Click here to learn about the 5 different style of space management.

Since most of us live or work with other people, the odds are good that we’ll be involved with folks whose styles of managing space are different from ours. Sharing space with other styles may be difficult if we believe that our way of doing things is the best way or the only way.

Fortunately, there are ways to minimize any tension:

1. Take someone else’s point of view seriously.

Learn to really listen even if it’s uncomfortable. You may hear something surprising that will help you understand the problem better.

2. When possible, compromise or barter

The best way to way to compromise is to start with what you would like ideally and what the other person would like ideally.Then look at the flip side and consider the minimum conditions both of you could accept. Think creatively and look for a solution somewhere in-between the minimum and the ideal. Be certain that both of you agree that enough of your needs are being met to be fair.

An alternative solution is to barter — to make an even trade or exchange. (For example, “I’ll let you do x if you let me do y.”) In this way, each person gets to keep his/her style’s approach intact for at least some of the time.

3. Develop a sense of humor

Constant tensions can certainly get you down, but circumstances are usually not terrible unless you think they are. Attitude plays a big part in coping with style clashes. A new attitude may give you more positive energy to cope with the situation. It may also help you recognize that other people are not usually not trying to irritate you with their style differences even if that seems to be the case.

4. Keep the lines of communication open

Remember, as long as you’re talking to someone, there’s a chance to resolve differences. It takes skill and determination to negotiate successfully, but almost any problem can be worked out if you’re sufficiently motivated. Perhaps invite a thrid party to moderate the discussion. But make sure that the third party is clearly objective and someone whom you both respect.

Other strategies:

– Switch roles to see how it feels to have another organizational style.

– Clarify what isn’t working in your attempts to resolve the situation. For example, see if either of you consistently reacts with expressions of annoyance or mockery that automatically puts the other person on the defensive and makes it difficult to discuss things objectively.

Work out a compromise that, if possible, includes a separate and private area for each person to organize as s/he sees fit.

Aim for a win-win situation. Both of you should be able to emerge feeling OK about what has transpired.

This concludes our Space Style Series. Stay tuned for a Time Style Series in the future!

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