Read this: Serious conversations often begin with or lead to conflict. Political or not, once we pass the bounds of the trivial anything can and often does happen. A friend or acquaintance can all too quickly become an opponent or an enemy. We are often not sure how we got into “that conversation” and thereafter may intentionally avoid the person or the topic. How does this happen and can we do anything to make it better and still have worthwhile differences of opinion?
The attached article from The Daily KOS, by David Akadjian takes a brief, but well done look at our ability to have “inherently hostile attitudes towards each other”. Evidently we, all too easily “create conflict by introducing competition … but … we can also resolve the conflict if we introduce a shared goal”. Akadjian says: “one of the mistakes we often make in our personal (and political) conversations is that we start at the wrong point. We tend to start at confronting people instead of starting with building trust. We probably do this because this is the battle that’s played out for us on a day-to-day basis in the media.” We need to remember that conflict is a positive and makes a lot of money for our “reality based” media. Not necessarily for our functioning in the real world, however.
The article takes a look at several examples of how to manage conflict and begin working with people:
- In 1954, social psychologist Muzafer Sherif ran an experiment at the Robbers Cave Boy Scout camp, dividing a group of boys into two groups, separating them, introducing competition (which got out of hand) and then finding ways for them to develop trust by working together,
- He talks about dealing with his personal nemesis,
- He talks about fighting with Christians and evangelicals,
- He talks about fighting with libertarians and conservatives,
This is a good article that makes you take stock of your own interactive tools and how you might improve them. In the end Akadjian says “What might make good media strategy often makes for terrible, unproductive personal conversations. This is why it’s important to fight with people (not against them) on something.”