19 Jul

Conflict is one of the more common reasons that people come to speak with me. It could be a couple having troubles, or a communication breakdown with a supervisor/employee. Either way the challenge is the same. How do I bring up, or respond to, a conflicted topic? 

You'll probably fall into one of two types of people:

  1. The Protector: "I don't want to say anything because I'm worried that I'll snap."
  2. The Avoider: "I want to say something, but I don't know how."

Regardless of the type, the response is the same.

The Magic Question

"Can you help me to understand?"

It's neutral, it's simple, it's easy to remember. It's non-confrontational, so it's not likely to get the other person's back up and result in a defensive reply, and it's emotionally dispassionate which means that it is not likely to fuel your emotional reactivity. 

Prefaced with a reflective statement, this magic question prompts the other person to consider the message they are trying to convey and reframe their request.

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