A common reason that conflicts escalate is the perception of threat one or both parties see in the conflict escalation cycle. Taking an action that makes you non-threatening to the other person is a powerful step towards de-escalating the conflict.
In many conflict situations I have observed a tendency by some people to minimize, criticize, or demean the emotions expressed by other people. I have also seen people attempt to tell other people how they should feel about a situation.
All of these actions trigger the perception of threat that tends to escalate conflicts.
If your interest is in de-escalating a conflict, I suggest that you do the opposite. I recommend that you accept and acknowledge the feelings other people express whether you agree that they should feel that way or not.
As I said in my post about Listening as a Way to De-escalate Conflict, the need to be heard and understood is a strong motivator in our relationships with other people. Accepting and acknowledging other people's feelings goes a long way towards showing people that they have been heard and understood.
This article is from the De-escalation Tips series. Use the links below to read more from this series.
- Five Ways to De-escalate a Conflict
- Listening as a Tool to De-escalate Conflicts
- Accept and Acknowledge Feelings to De-Escalate Conflicts
- Using Apology to De-escalate a Conflict
- Conflict De-escalation Strategies: Control Your Tone and Body Language