Have you ever felt like you’ve been in a pinch? You can interpret the question in any way you’d like as long as you give yourself an answer to it. It can be a literal answer or a figurative one. Have you felt like you were in a situation where you felt like someone (could be yourself) was at a disadvantage of some sort and the situation itself was spiralling into possibly something destructive? There is a way around that and let me show you how.

First, let’s define what a pinch is. The pinch I’m talking about speaks of a situational conflict where one party, or both, feel disadvantaged and the situation continues on to the point of a crunch—an almost explosive sibling of the pinch.

Pocket Card New Back v5
Working a Pinch – Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group

Let’s look at this in the form of an example—a case study.

Emma and Jane have been tasked to work together on a class project. They’re the best of friends, but sometimes they butt heads when their ideals get ahead of them. One day, in the middle of the project, Jane mentions that one of Emma’s ideas needs to be changed because it wouldn’t work out given what they’ve already done. Unfortunately, Emma takes it as a blow because the project has mostly gone in Jane’s direction.

For the duration of the project, Emma holds a small grudge against Jane. She makes little jabs whenever Jane tries to push for specific ideas, but Jane shrugs it off. Jane wants to get the project over with and hopefully, Emma will stop acting the way she is.

Unfortunately, near the end of the project, Jane has had enough of Emma’s antics and blows up. The two argue, saying things they’ve been holding in her chest for the entirety of the project. They’re both yelling and crying, almost on the verge of hitting each other, before they stop and split up. They finish the project, but with ill feelings towards one another.

What happens next is up to you.

So, let’s recap as to what the pinch was in the study, and the crunch, then we can look at the possible ending. The pinch started when Jane pushed for one idea and Emma had taken it the wrong way. The situation spiralled out of control to the point where a crunch occurred—the big fight. It’s pretty obvious how the entire conflict could have avoided the crunch, isn’t it? Emma simply had to tell Jane how she felt and hope her best friend would be more willing to collaborate on the project so that both of their ideas would shine.

Pinches aren’t recognizable until mentioned. Emma could have easily shrugged off what Jane said and gone on with the project, skipping the conflict all together, but she felt pinched, instead. She made petty jabs that could be considered as hinting to how she felt, but she wasn’t clear about it. In the end, it reached a crunch.

Both parties were tired of the spiralling conflict that it finally boiled over. Emma was tired of being led, while Jane was tired of how Emma was acting. Every jab created smaller pinches, increasing the severity of the conflict. With that, both Emma and Jane were emotional about what happened. They fought and developed ill feelings towards one another because of a small pinch.

You’re probably wondering what happened to the two after the project, right? That’s up to you because there are two main ways the study can result. The first being the two stopped being best friends because the argument unleashed unpleasant things from both of them and they can’t move past it. The second being they continued to be friends after some time apart to calm down and talk again. We all hope for the latter, but sometimes the former occurs despite our wishes.

Where does this lead us?

  • Anything can be a pinch
  • Pinches must be clearly stated by the party who feel it
  • All pinches can lead to crunches if left alone
  • Crunches can severely affect and/or end a relationship
  • These conflicts can be managed and resolved as soon as the pinch is recognized

Like I said, pinches don’t have to become crunches as long as they’re addressed immediately. The sooner the pinch is recognized, the better the chance a crunch will be avoided.

Unfortunately, there are times when the pinch and crunch cycle doesn’t end. Conflicts are naturally occurring things, which means pinches and crunches will occur, but for some reason it may continue on in one particular instance. Things may be resolved during the crunch stage, but the situation somehow returns back to the pinch and the cycle begins again.

So, what do you do at that point? Depending on why the pinch is reoccurring, ask yourself what is happening that is perpetuating the cycle. Always address the pinch at its earliest stages when possible to avoid the constant blowout from a crunch. Speak with the other party and firmly attempt to resolve the problem so it doesn’t continue to manifest itself after things are supposedly done.

As said, pinches can occur at any moment and can lead to a crunch. Addressing things as quickly as possible can avoid the inevitable crunch and keep relationships in tact. Think critically as to why the pinches recur, if they do, and make sure to resolve it as best as possible.

Let me know of a situation that was a pinch that led to a crunch and how it ended.

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