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Resolving Conflicts Peacefully | Engaging In Civil Discourse

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We all have to deal with problematic people who can get abusive, combative, or argumentative. In some cases, discussions with this kind of people turn to angry shouts, but if we truly look at it, these people are angry because they don’t feel valued and loved. 

They want to feel important and validated. This is a natural and psychological need, and lack of it can result in unruly behavior. Nevertheless, suppose the right approach is adopted. In that case, it is possible to get them to drop their insecurities and provide an environment for understanding.

Debates in family or business environments tend to escalate easily to disrespectful conversation because one of the people involved got upset and spoke in a way that the other found critical or unkind. 

Suppose the offended party is skilled in civil discourse and conflict resolution techniques. In that case, they’ll know how to deal with and resolve the situation before it escalates. 

Our environment has a shortage of civil discourse and conflict resolution skills. So, it is easier to see such scenarios turn into ugly situations with aggravated misunderstandings than to see all the parties calm and willing to resolve the misunderstanding.

Suppose misunderstandings are resolved amicably; in that case, resentment and frustration won’t build up. The way we react to a problem determines the outcome of the situation to a large extent. This also applies in the workplace. 

Our tone of voice when replying to a colleague or customer determines whether the interaction will remain peaceful. There is no doubt that it is easier to lash back at an aggressor than to overlook hurt and make an effort to make them see from your perspective. 

However, the advantages of peaceful coexistence, civil discourse, and conflict resolution outweigh whatever selfish motive we have in mind. It brings about authenticity in the workplace and increases connection with family members. And even among friends, conflict resolution and civil discourse bring about more meaningful relationships.  

So, if conflict resolution provides all these advantages, why do most debates or conversations end up in disagreements and discourteous discourse? The answer is not far-fetched. It’s because we are more inclined to voice our opinion without taking time to listen to and understand the opinions of others. 

However, effective communication doesn’t consider who shouts the loudest or gives the most abuse per second. It is about communicating your intentions peacefully so that any misunderstanding is cleared. This is no mean task. Fortunately, there are ways to achieve them.

1. Take Responsibility

Nobody likes losing or being on the wrong side. It is incredibly hard to admit that you’re wrong even when the evidence is provided. This behavior can lead to frustrations during conversations, contributing to disagreements and conflicts. 

To engage in civil discourse, you must be willing to take responsibility whenever you are at fault. In fact, the quicker you admit that you’re at fault, the faster the issue will be resolved, and the conversation can return to its civil state.

2. Be Calm

Letting emotions get the better of you during disagreements or debates is easy. Your opponent might try to rile you up to derail the conversation even if you are right. This is where maintaining your cool and being calm comes in. 

When the conversation turns into shouts, it is best to be quiet and observe. Trying to argue in this case will be ineffective because the conversation has turned into an emotional outburst, and being rational is the last thing anyone will consider.

3. Be Open-minded

Another factor that prevents the advancement of civil discourse is narrow-mindedness. People hardly enter discussions to exchange views; instead, they go there to impose their views on others. The result is that everybody will try to hold on to their views, defend them vigorously, and rebuff any attempts to dislodge them of their convictions.

However, suppose people approach conversations with curiosity and the desire to learn new things. In that case, they’ll be more willing to analyze other people’s viewpoints and test the validity of their views in the face of logic. 

4. Active Listening

Active listening is a crucial factor in maintaining civility during discussions. Active listening is often disregarded, it is assumed that if you are hearing the speaker, you must be listening to them, but that is only sometimes true. People listen to a speaker while thinking of the best reply or looking for a mistake in their speech. This can’t be referred to as active listening. 

Active listening involves giving the speaker your full attention and asking clarifying questions to reach a mutual understanding. If this is applied across the board, misunderstandings which normally result in conflict, will be greatly reduced. 

Final Thoughts

The way we communicate with one another determines our relationship with them. Suppose we allow people to be themselves and share their ideas. In that case, they, in turn, will reciprocate, and that will not only lead to validated feelings and polite responses, but it could be the start of a great friendship based on mutual understanding.