Relationship 6 Steps to Addressing Conflict and Improving Dialogue

6 Steps to Addressing Conflict and Improving Dialogue


There are people who seem to attract conflict, while others avoid it. If you focus flexibly, disagreements allow you to mature as a person.

What would the tale of the three little pigs be without a big bad wolf? In fact, any story would be bland without a bad guy that generates some tension and suspense. Without wanting to underestimate the pain that conflicts produce – especially when it comes to armed conflicts that hurt entire populations for generations – let us place ourselves for a moment in that place where the good contrast with the bad, where people feel just because others seem not to be, a scenario where the understanding makes no sense without the unscrupulous.

All this with a simple intention: to explain that if life were free of conflicts, progress would probably be impossible and humanity would not be offered the opportunity to develop new resources to improve itself.

If one is able to put aside for a moment the intense need to judge and label that arises in the face of a conflict, as well as the overflowing emotions that accompany it, it can be understood that all conflict implies an intense approach towards the other and towards that which Priori we see it as different because it forces us to pay attention to it and face it.

Conflicts between people as well as internal conflicts and conflicts between groups and civilizations pose the challenge of learning for those who experience them.

But what steps can help you understand the lesson? What attitudes and behaviors bring us closer to a solution? In this article we show the six key stages.

1. Accept what happens without judging it

Faced with a conflict, the person repeats himself over and over again: this should not have happened. And it closes in on itself because it rebels against what happened.

But in order to start considering a possible solution, the first thing to do is accept the event without questioning it. It can be helpful to ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”

Taking that step requires the great will to get out of a prison, whose bars are the thoughts, value judgments and labels that the protagonists of the conflict have attributed to it.

Accepting what happened without judging allows us to broaden the vision of things and consider the conflict without the crystals that stain what has happened as should, as good or bad, right or wrong.

These filters blind the person, as they lead them to react only based on their subjective assessment of the facts.

“It is difficult to overcome inertia and not start to judge what happened, but to adequately address a conflict it is necessary to analyze it from another place that takes into account that the map does not replace the territory. We must all be aware that our way of seeing reality does not it is the reality itself and that each person observes the landscape according to their experiences and beliefs “, says Sol Martínez , NLP trainer and Gestalt therapist.

Conflicts are generated because two ways of feeling and thinking come into conflict.

The obfuscation that derives from this can be dissipated if it is accepted that the opposing party is governed by a different map, which determines its actions.

2. Knowing how to put yourself in the place of the other

After taking this first step, it may be easier to put yourself – even for a moment – where the other party is and try to understand the beliefs that lead them to act as they do.

It is an enriching effort, because it allows us to see beyond and perceive what happened more clearly.

friend not involved in the confrontation or a mediator can do a great job of allowing the parties involved to view the conflict from a more objective perspective.

The two parties in conflict almost always seek the same thing: to cover basic needs for human beings, such as security, recognition, appreciation or affection.

These are needs that are not usually made explicit during conflict; therefore, striving to discover them amid the insults and rudeness will help to find a successful solution for both parties.

” All conflict usually begins with a positive intention. To discover it, the question is: ‘what is the other looking for with this conflict?’ When a confrontation is analyzed, it is almost always observed that each of the parties pursues similar objectives. And the solution must also be sought from that level, “says Robert Long, coordinator of the workshop” Conflict resolution “at the Gestalt Institute in Barcelona.

3. Distinguish between behavior and identity

It can be useful to consider only what can be perceived with the senses, without interpreting it. You can even write down the specific behaviors of each person involved.

This exercise allows you to know if you react to what is happening or to the prejudice you have of someone.

It is convenient to make this distinction, because many conflicts arise as a reaction to the label that has been placed on a person rather than what he has done.

” The mind qualifies, alters and magnifies what happened. When only behavior is analyzed, there are more response options because it is closer to reality”, Sol Martínez recalls.

4. Seek silence

Silence is another good resource to cage trials and stop chain reactions.

Sometimes it is enough to count to ten before jumping blindly to speak or act; at other times it takes more time, and should be sought even if the provocation continues.

As with meditation, which makes the person stop identifying with their thoughts and can see them from a distance, silence allows us to examine what has happened, accept that the bait has been taken and stop to assess what is desired from that moment.

“This allows giving a response more in accordance with the facts and not so much from the visceral reaction. It also gives more freedom to choose the optimal response. Any conflict between people largely implies a conflict within each one of them. Often times, the other acts as a mirror of facets of ours that we are not aware of or that we reject. Through this silence or truce, the decision may also arise not to feed the conflict and to move to another place “, adds Long.

5. Am I willing to resolve that conflict?

Lao Tse wrote: “Who knows how to preserve life does not worry about tigers or rhinos when walking in the mountains. Nor does he carry arms or shield when he enters enemy territory. Thus, the rhinoceros does not find where to gore him. Nor the tiger where to cleave. its claws. Nor weapons where to apply its edge. Why? Because there is no place in it where death can penetrate. ”

All conflict implies an approach towards the other and towards what we see as different, because it forces us to pay attention to it and face it.

It is not about becoming an ostrich that sinks its head to the ground when danger appears, but rather about finding a way to renounce the demands that have triggered the confrontation to detach from it, as well as the emotions that it has generated.

Sometimes it is easy to get bogged down in complaining of what was expected and not received; at other times he acts as a vigilante who seeks to compensate for what happened in the past and take revenge.

But it is preferable to detach from the child who kicks to behave like an adult.

Some metaphors, stories or images allow us to observe the conflict in a more lucid way.

“In a conflict, the presence of people who arrive with a serene spirit is always celebrated, they represent a relief and can spread that state to others. That serenity is achieved when the need has been released,” says Long.

6. Negotiate to achieve the “I win, you win”

To find a win-win answer, the analysis must address only authentic needs, beyond personal egos.

“In a conflict, the mediator sits on fire without burning himself because he broadens his perspective. Rather than focusing on the details, he is guided by an overall vision. For a good resolution, all parties – even the most marginalized sectors – must occupy a place. Because you can’t forget that ‘what you resist persists’ “, Long points out.

The ideal is to reach an agreement in which all parties win.

That is easier if you act with respect for yourself and the other, and work from a place where trials have been parked to allow serenity to emerge.

The question is: “What is good for me?”. The answer will not only facilitate the solution, but will reveal the causes of the conflict beyond the dialectical discussions.

If this question is not answered, it is not possible to know if the resolution is close, because for some everything may be insufficient.

It is clear that certain conflicts persist and seem unsolvable. That usually happens when neither party reviews its position, losing the opportunity to grow as a person, company or nation.

There will always be conflicts. But, as Gandhi said, “peace is not the goal, peace is the way.”

MindFixes Staff
MindFixes is dedicated to promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders and advocating, educating, and serving all people with mental and substance use conditions. MindFixes is determined to persevere, learn, grow, love and laugh through our wellness journey and we invite all to join.


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