Knowing How You Respond to Conflict: Rhino vs. Hedgehog

When a difficult situation arises, what’s your default mode of approach? Are you willing to charge into the conflict, head-first? Or do you just want to curl up in a ball and make everyone go away?

Knowing your tendencies can go a long way in improving your response to conflict in all sorts of relationships. Nicky and Sila Lee, authors of The Marriage Book, offer two pictures of how people deal with conflict: becoming either a rhinoceros, or a hedgehog.

If you tend to be a “rhino”, chances are you’re willing to get aggressive when dealing with difficult issues. You’ll want to ‘have it out’ in a fight, rather than walk away from the problem. A rhino charges straight in, horn pointed and ready to attack.

But if you’re a “hedgehog”, you’re much more likely to want to avoid conflict. When things get challenging, you’ll want to stop the conflict by shutting down. A hedgehog curls up in a ball and sticks its prickly spines out so no one can hurt it.

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Introverted or Extroverted?

Of all the personality traits or types, “introvert” and “extrovert” are probably the most well-known and commonly used.

But what do these designations mean? And why do they matter?

A few years ago, I was chatting with an acquaintance at work about my plans for the weekend.

“Well,” I said resignedly, “I’m going out to a meet-up happy hour. I’m dreading it, of course, but I’m making myself go.”

“Why are you dreading it?” she asked, puzzled. “That sounds like so much fun!” Continue Reading