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Rise in stubbornness seen from governments to relationships

Steven HarrisInstant gratification through technology, isolation from other people due to being plugged in, and the rise of personalized and customized experiences have all contributed to a rise in "my way or the highway" stubbornness, according to family social science researchers. It can be seen on many relationship levels -- from couples in the home, to elected officials who butt heads as Minnesota's state government shutdown heads into its second week, with no clear end in sight.

This heels-dug-in attitude is us saying "I don't like how this is affecting me," says Dr. Steven Harris, director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Minnesota. In speaking to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Harris cites a waning amount of interpersonal interaction as breaking down not only relationship skills, but conflict resolution.

Tai MendenhallDr. Tai Mendenhall, professor of family medicine and adjunct in family social science, says that the brain is wired to look for black or white, us-or-them solutions, and it can take outside perspective to bring in other ideas.

Harris says ultimately seeing the other side as "just being out to get you" won't lead to any kind of progress or solution. His advice to couples -- to try to see not only the other side, but also its integrity -- could be a good tip for governments as well.

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