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Three statements that can resolve conflict


Let’s face it, conflict happens.

Seldom do people intentionally try to start conflicts, but a comment, an action, or an assumption can snowball into something tantamount to The Hatfields and McCoys!

For those too young to know this reference – just Google it.

Family members have been known to be estranged for years; countless couples file for divorce each day, and businesses see their margins destroyed by conflict in the marketplace. It’s said that it costs a business over one and a half times an average employee’s yearly salary just to replace them. While ideally, in a perfect world, conflict would never occur – it does. So when it does, how can it be nipped in the bud so everyone can “play well in the sandbox” together? An answer lies in embracing and using these three powerful statements.

“I was wrong.” Often, conflicts occur when two people disagree over an issue or occurrence, and both believe they are right. The more pushback they receive, the more they dig their heels in and double down on their point of view – refusing to believe they could be at least a little wrong. The truth is they probably are. While still holding to the belief that they are generally right, honestly evaluating, identifying, and admitting to at least one point they are wrong breaks the conflict cycle and extends the olive branch.

“I’m Sorry.” Once the olive branch is extended, it’s legitimized and reinforced by showing genuine remorse by saying, “I’m sorry.” The apology needs to be for the actual action, not that the action caused the other person to be hurt. For example, rather than saying, “I’m sorry that this action hurt your feelings,” the correct statement should be, “I’m sorry I did that; I know it hurt you.”

“Please Forgive Me.” If admitting blame for some point in a conflict is done with complete honesty and the apology is done with complete sincerity, then the onus of healing the conflict is now on the person who is asked to forgive. Often, that person will not only offer forgiveness but will reciprocate by admitting a point where they, too, were wrong.

This isn’t an iron-clad formula that works every time, but it sure beats the alternative of doing nothing and accepting the fact that conflict is just a way of life, and that’s that.

Besides, “Blessed are the Peacemakers.”

Mark Goldstein, Peacemakers, Conflict Resolution, Arguments, Opinion, Hatfields & McCoys


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