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Kevin Hogan
Network 3000 Publishing
16526 W. 78th St. #138
Eden Prairie, MN 55346
(612) 616-0732

Stop the Ticking Conflict Bomb

...In Your House

by Kevin Hogan

Conflict Resolution The voices raise. Face turns red. The fur on her back goes up. The hissing begins. The anger levels raise. Thank god there are no guns around...and that the cat's declawed...

...and thatís just the pets.

Believe it or not, even people get into these bizarre conflicts which SHOULD be easy enough to solve with some reasoned why aren't they?

Oh, donít worry...I know there is seemingly little hope for humanity when it comes to solving tensions with those you live with, particularly when text messages make up a chunk of the "conversation", but letís see if we can stop the ticking bomb so the conflict explosion at least avoids you and me.

Reducing the The Threat

Start at the Talk-to-Listen Ratio. Process what you are hearing.

I heard that groan. "Yuck! Pitooee!" you say.

Oh, stop it. Watch this:

Most people stink at processing what the other person says because they donít get it. They've had the process explained only in psychological mumbo jumbo that is pure nonsense. Let's walk through what you can do to defuse tension fairly quickly.

Conflict Resolution Active Listening

  1. Silence on Your Part

    First thing "silence" means is to shut up...totally. Wired jaw shut, vocal cords ripped out, no eyes rolling behind the head. (Rolling eyes counts double penalty and is an automatic first down - for the other team.)

  2. Take Handwritten Notes

    Second thing it means is donít try and think of what you are going to say in response to what they say or do. Make this a forever strategy. Yes, the very best thing for you to do is to take notes during an argument (fight). It will take a while to get used to doing this. But do it.


    When what is being spoken is "recorded" on paper, people tend to instantly "go up" a few "grade levels" in what they say.

    And the fact is, you'll have it all written down so you have zero chance of misunderstanding what they are thinking/feeling.

    Listen to what they are saying. You already know theyíre wrong. They seem to have the errant belief that youíre wrong. Therefore you only have one hope.

    You can let each other be wrong without proving it to them, and move to the next step.

  3. Repeat What Was Said

    The third step in defusing a bomb that is about to go off is being able to repeat, without sarcasm, what the heck they just said.

    People want evidence that you "understand" them, and because 90% of all people argue and never even hear what the other person said, you now go to a new category of species in their mind. Even if you think they are wrong, at least you GET what they are saying. You can at least make their argument for them.

  4. Show Understanding

    Fourth step in defusing the bomb is to show that you REALLY UNDERSTAND that point of view. As insane as it undoubtedly seems, it IS their point of view. It IS their feelings. And they are entitled to feel whatever they feel.

  5. Provide Validation

    At this point, the bomb is generally defused and now you have to get the thing apart so...tensions don't escalate again.

    Keep this written on a coffee table near you. In each argument, creative discussion, fight, blow out - you want to be able to complete this sentence, "You mustíve felt X when you saw or experienced Y."

    I promise that this is far and away the most difficult part. I mean, you got the bomb defused but that sentence takes the bomb APART and renders it impotent.

Realize that you are Listening.

Listening is NOT apologizing. It is not time for swearing or saying someone is wrong.

Flooded Feelings

Using Bomb Defusion Technology during an argument is the first step you can take to rapidly mellow the situation and solve whatever problems have arisen.

Realize, however, that when people feel strongly about an issue, their flooded emotions will influence their ability to communicate and listen.

"Flooded" means their heart rate is accelerated, their mind is racing, and no matter what, when someoneís heart rate is elevated, even from physical activity, they are NOT going to communicate as effectively...if at all.

You are better off waiting at least 30 minutes for Flooding feelings to subside. (Author and famed marriage therapist Dr. John Gottman taught me this personally, and I promise it is easier said than done...and that it works.)

Now what do THEY have to DO?
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Kevin Hogan
Network 3000 Publishing
16526 W. 78th St. #138
Eden Prairie, MN 55346
(612) 616-0732

Coffee cup photo appears under license with Stockexpert. Article photos appear under license with istockphoto/lesterbee and istockphoto/bo1982.

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