Monday, May 20, 2019


Conflict Resolution
In order to evolve in any way one must be willing to listen and understand another’s perspective and the myriad of experiences that have constructed this perspective.  Then we can understand each other which will build bridges rather than walls, creating community and connectivity.

Conflict resolution; this is a term that sounds good, right?

We all want to resolve conflict in some form. Sure, there are some conflicts that cannot be resolved, but those are few and far between. The truth of the matter is conflict is an inevitable part of our culture and traditional learning institutions have not done great jobs at teaching conflict resolution.

Fast forward to the golden age of social media where everyone has a platform to speak, which in and of itself is a beautiful thing. However, the dark pattern of this platform is that differing opinions, experiences, and world views are constantly crashing into each other, creating conflicts. You could spend your entire day responding to people on threads and posts about hot topics and controversial subjects. Most people are braver and less careful with their words with the hedge of protection provided by technology and not having to actually face the people you are debating or arguing with.

Debate versus argue. Let’s set the records straight here. A debate is where 2 parties with different views offer opposing points to be considered by the other. The underlying idea is that there is some point to the back and forth. Arguing is just exchanging views without consideration. Arguing is what Facebook and other social media platforms are full of.

Intent is very important to everything we do. There is a reason to everything we think and do. Most conversations I have watched occur end with frustration or even anger due to ignoring the question that is essential to engaging in any conversation. What is the point here? What are my intentions in entering this conversation?

Unhealthy exchanges I see are driven by a desire of both parties to change each other with force. Party A says no to subject green while party B is an avid supporter of green but does not like purple, which happens to be party A’s jam. The conversation typically goes like this:

Party A: Purple is the best and here are my personal views which will pursued you to love purple as much as I do

Party B: Insert whatever positive monologue you want here about green.

The next step following the failure to convert someone to their side based on monologues is to destroy the other’s view by tearing it down or immediately defending their own position.

Harsh words are exchanged and eventually the conversation is over and the only thing that has been accomplished is both subjects have now doubled down on their perspectives.

Isn’t this a sad reality?

What if we rejected this and embraced a healthier strategy?

Instead of trying to convince anyone of anything, what if we tried to understand another person, which would most likely get them disarmed and wanting to understand us? What if we really embraced the idea of resolving conflict and gaining understanding rather than the combative and destructive exchanges we see on social media?

How would this slight change in intent and mindset impact our culture, careers, and socio-economic climate?

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