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Category: Conflict Doctor answers your questions

Kindness is my Kryptonite

Question posed: What is the one quality I can use to make rejection easier for the other person to accept? Answer: Sometimes rejection requires a firm, unambiguous, one sentence that doesn’t leave room for argument of whether or not you mean ‘no’. Other times, you might want a softer approach. 

How to change other peoples’ conflict behaviour

Question posed: How do I change the other person’s behaviour when that is what’s creating conflict? Answer: A fast 3-step dance pattern describes a lot of conflicts. Step one: the first person acts or speaks; Step two: the second person (you) interprets those words or actions, and Step three: the second person (still you) reacts based on that interpretation. So, your question is about changing step one. Most answers to your question advise you on steps two and three because that’s where you have real control. My answer is a little different than… Read more How to change other peoples’ conflict behaviour


Have you ever asked: “What could I have done differently?” Ask me questions about how to do conflict better: whether to prevent a conflict, manage your current conflict, or be prepared for the next conflict that will happen. I’ve worked for decades to help people develop their conflict competence.

A Conflict Analysis of Why

Question posed: I asked an acquaintance why he did something (he even admitted it was obviously stupid). He accused me of being judgmental, stormed away, and won’t speak to me. What did I do wrong? Answer: When emotions are high, ‘why’ is almost always the wrong question to ask. It’s when emotions are calm and supportive that ‘why’ shows interest in someone’s thoughts and feelings. Here’s why ‘why’ should be used with caution:

Role play a sustainability conflict

Four Tales, One City. The city where I live is in conflict over how to grow sustainably. The issue, as conflicts often do, turned into a war of words. The media fed on the conflicting points of view for over a month. While many called the fight an immature power struggle among City Hall’s elected representatives, bureaucrats, and industry, I analyzed it as normal. Conflict needn’t get personal and often does. Passion, not indifference, builds a great city. Conflicts are data about people who care enough to argue, which makes resolutions… Read more Role play a sustainability conflict