Behaviours and words to avoid in a conflict situation

by Bob Colclough on June 12, 2012

In the heat of the moment, it may be easier than you think to pour petrol on the flames of a smouldering conflict.

You may find this list of unhelpful behaviours useful….

a. Negative labelling, insulting, or calling the other party offensive names.
Example: “You are a liar.”

b. Minimizing or ignoring the other’s feelings.
Example: “Frankly, I don’t care if you don’t agree!”

c. Lying about, denying, or misrepresenting information that the other person will know to be inaccurate.
Example: Person ‘A’ says “in this particular task I would like to take on XX responsibility”. Person ‘B’ turns this into “You said you wanted extra responsibility”. A specific statement is turned into a generalized to suit the purpose of person ‘B’.

d. Blaming the other for the problem with “you” statements.
Example:You were the one who started this”. “This doesn’t need to end up like this if you just did what I asked”.

e. Communicating condescension.
Example: “You mean to tell me that you have only just understood what we need?”

f. Questioning the other party’s honesty, integrity, intelligence, or competence.
Example: “Do you expect me to believe that you really don’t have time to…”

g. Making offensive or hostile non-verbal expressions or gestures.
Example: rolling the eyes, loud sighs, laughing, or groaning when the other person speaks

h. Making interpretations of what the other party says based on stereotypes or prejudicial beliefs.
Example: “All you people ever think about is …….”

i. Insisting that the other party “admits to being wrong.”
Example: “So this just shows that you were wrong, doesn’t it!”

j. Using sarcasm in addressing the other party.
Example: “Well, how nice of you to grace us with your presence!”

k. Making moral judgments about the other party.
Example: “What sort of person constantly swears every second word!”

l. Making threats to the other party.
Example: “You’d better stick to your word or you certainly won’t get the help that you’re looking for!”

m. Making demands of the other party.
Example: “you will, you must, I insist….”

n. Interrupting the other party when he/she is speaking.

o. Shouting at the other party.

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