When two people disagree, the disagreement itself rarely stems from the situation itself. Unfortunately when people try to resolve a concern, leaving a critical step out of the process will result in not only allowing the issue to remain but also make the situation more intense.

The ideology people use to interpret any event is what is at the root of all disagreements. On the very surface level, every disagreement arises from different expectations which, in turn, develop from different world views.

Because of this, it is impossible to solve any problem by altering the situation.

This is because as long as every individual’s views remain intact, all that will happen is fulfillment of one’s needs at the expense of another’s. This fundamental flaw is the reason why when there is something concrete that makes one person upset, correcting that is not what will resolve the issue at hand.

If I’m upset that the coffee I ordered is taking too long to get to my table, throwing a tantrum while claiming discrimination based on my green shoes might indeed get my order fulfilled quicker. But at what cost? The waiter will be upset, and any customers within earshot might be annoyed.

As mentioned before, when it’s important to resolve a conflict as opposed to simply shifting the emotions from one to another doesn’t accomplish anything worth desiring, and doesn’t resolve the issue.

What is termed quality communication and what most (if not outright all) conflict-resolution methodologies advocate, is revelation of assigned meaning. This is very important because although internally we know exactly what is going on and why we feel a certain way, others often don’t simply because their life experience is different. Even when something is “common-sense” – it is different “sense” to different people. Fortunately, no detailed lists are required to ensure successful communication. Only three things need to be clarified for any problem to be resolved.

  1. What happened
  2. When did this happen
  3. How do you feel about it right now

What happens most of the time, is during a disagreement the emotions are so strong that only the #3 is addressed. Unfortunately this not nearly enough not only to make all involved feel better, it is also not enough to ensure that the subject of argument is resolved. Essentially, if any element of the above three is missing from the conversation, the issue can’t be resolved permanently and so it reoccurs until it is either resolved or left hanging (leading to resentment).

Now that you’re aware of the necessary elements of any successful conflict resolution, the easy part is that the questions don’t need to be in any particular order. They just need to be included at some point in the conversation.

Ironically, as long as these questions are answered, the situation often can be left as is – nothing in the physical world has changed. And because all involved now have another person’s perspective on the situation by cultivating an environment where people are exposed to rationalizations of others.

Because all meaning is assigned, by having a better understanding of how another person arrives at their conclusion about a particular situation will improve your relationships by having less arguments and resolving more disagreements.

Are there any conflict-resolution methods that have worked great for you? Please share them with readers by leaving a comment below.