Here are 4 phrases to say to defuse a conflict

Here are 4 phrases to say to defuse a conflict

Defusing an emerging conflict (with a partner, a colleague, a friend) while still expressing your needs can seem like high-flying. However, there is a way to successfully come out of a conflict with a little confidence thanks to a 4-step response, validated by our psychologist Johanna Rozenblum.

A disagreement, a misunderstanding, words that are louder than others, and a conflict can quickly arise between two people who are no longer able to communicate. Does the event speak to you? Nothing could be more normal, we can encounter conflicts within our family, with our friends, or in our workplace. The fact remains that these conflicts are often the expression of needs and attention that are not respected on both sides. It is therefore possible, when we become aware of it, to resolve the problem.

A reaction based on an interpretation

Our reactions of irritation, and our arguments, are triggered when we think that someone deliberately intended to violate one of our social needs (to be respected, recognized, appreciated, etc.).

But, that is to say, our emotional reactions are often based on our “interpretation” that the person deliberately intended to harm or ignore one of our social needs. We make up a story about what the person was thinking when they countered our idea and we take the rejection of our needs as an affront.

In short, we take personally the fact that our contributions or our talents are not recognized… When it is sometimes simply a misunderstanding, or a disagreement but which is not intended to harm you.

Recognizing your own reactions, the first step to move forward

To get out of this posture, work on yourself and on what you think is being violated may above all be necessary: ​​think about the last time you felt irritation, anxiety or hurt during an interaction. with the others. What were you hoping to achieve that was held back or ignored? What about when you led a team meeting or your work with a new client didn’t go the way you hoped? Did you feel incompetent? Useless ? Insult ? Think about what you thought you were losing so you can be more objective in your reactions in the future. When you have a moment to think about your reaction, be curious about what happened so you can learn from the experience. If you yourself recognize which issues hurt you personally and why, you may react less strongly later.

Good in his body, good in his head!

These 4 phrases that can defuse conflict

Words are also important, and certain sentences can help to defuse a conflict and restore meaning to sterile sentences, sometimes poorly experienced, as psychologist Johanna Rozenblum, member of our committee of experts, confirms.

  • “That’s what I heard you say.” This introduction involves repeating the key words spoken by the person, without adding an interpretation or your hypothesis of meaning. “This primer allows us to immediately lay the foundations for an exchange on mutual understanding and to avoid misunderstandings or errors of interpretation” approves our psychologist;
  • “I had the “impression” that you did not (understood, liked, respected…) my point of view”. This second sentence simply evokes what we feel, the hurt we felt. “Evoking what we feel is always legitimate, it also allows others to adapt and better understand reactions. Understanding what emotion we create in our interlocutor then allows us to demonstrate empathy.” ;
  • “I hope we can talk about what we both need to strengthen our relationship.” “Here again, this proposal makes the discussion, which could be heated, more constructive. If the common objective is to find a solution or move towards a common objective, then the discussion which could have turned into a verbal joust becomes productive”;
  • In the future, I would like you to (express wish). Do you need anything from me? A sentence which directly evokes a request, but which allows an exchange since it also suggests questioning oneself. “Talking about your needs clearly is a good tactic too, it then avoids blaming the other person for not having responded to them.” comments the psychologist. “However, we should not expect the other to be systematically in the interpretation to the point of meeting all our expectations. Managing a conflict is a two-person process.” concludes our expert.

So, expressing your needs without putting too much emotion into it can help you resolve conflicts. This is not a magic formula however, you may meet a person who is resistant to discussion, but with these 4 sentences, you still offer a constructive discussion. What happens next will also depend on the other.