Very few of us engage in conflicts with confidence and ease. In fact, most people fear conflict. Conflict avoiders are all around us. So are conflict magnets, or people who seem to thrive on drama and conflict. They don’t stir things up because they enjoy conflict. Typically, they’re not skilled at engaging appropriately in conflict, and internal triggers fuel actions that inflame conflicts. Conflict isn’t typically in anyone’s comfort zone, but there are strategies to help us be more resilient in conflicts.
Our social harmony has been fragmented by mud-slinging and divisiveness. Clashes between the left and the right have global reverberations. Each side holds negative views about the other, leading to polarization, culminating in political “echo chambers.” I admit, I've been guilty of this myself at times. When I do engage with people on the opposite end of my political views, however, I find practical negotiation strategies lead to respectful and eye-opening debates.
I’ve been a dispute resolution professional for nearly 25 years and, well, business is booming this year. Palpable tension is on the rise, within family gatherings, workplaces and communities. People are feeling burned-out by the polarization. Most of us are guilty of avoiding people who don't agree with us, just to minimize the stress and discomfort associated with conflict. How can we turn this around?