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Why do you think people get into a heated talk? Why and how is Conflict formed in relationship? Is it possible people talk about serious issues without experiencing Conflict?

I think there is only one condition that forms, fuels and escalates Conflict in human relationships; and that is Zone of Extremism.

I believe conflict is a byproduct of our extreme positions on issues that matter to us.  We may have lots of reasons to become for or against an idea but when we enter into a debate or conversation, it is important to be open to others’ points of views.  The belief that the position we take is the only way, the only truth, and the best, leads us to experience conflict.  This is what i call the zone of extremism. The zone that brings more harm to relationships than good; the zone that locks us into polarized positions and the zone that make us stuck in a gridlock for a long period of time.  So

  • When we only talk about the extreme condition of situations
  • When we exaggerate outcomes or consequences of actions or beliefs
  • When we hold the opposite stance much longer than it needed
  • When we hold 100% for or against position on an idea during the entire conversion
  • When we don’t deliberately switch our positions to see things from the other party’s point of view,

We are entering into a zone that supports formation, maintenance and escalation of conflicts between two parties in personal, social and political relationships.

The solution may seem to be apparent, however it is not easily doable.  What makes avoiding conflict difficult is the influence of the zone of extremism on both parties involved in conversations. When two persons enter into this zone, they become locked into a position- 100% for /against-  which doesn’t allow them to be open and see things from different perspectives.

Awareness is required prior to entering into conversation, when two parties begin to share their points of views on serious matters. To develop awareness and consciousness, we need to consider paying attention to the following to prevent a formation of conflict:

  • Enter into conversation with a decision that you would give ‘benefit of doubt’ to the other party’s talk
  • Enter into conversation to share ideas not to convince others
  • Take a listening position that allows you to hear the other party’s ideas
  • Stay away from the zone of extremism which leads to dogmatism and division
  • Make a deliberate decision to reduce your 100% devotion to an idea to give room to another party to express herself/ himself.

Hope we experience fewer conflicts in our daily conversations with one another. Remember, there is some truth in every idea; everything that we know about ourselves and our conditions is part of our collective human knowledge; and human knowledge is not complete.

Happy Possibilities,

Tahereh Barati, M.A, RMFT