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URMC / Employee Assistance Program / News & Events / UR Medicine EAP Blog / June 2022 / Learn to De-escalate Conflict in Relationships

Learn to De-escalate Conflict in Relationships

The ability to de-escalate a heated argument or conflict is a life skill that can help you avoid unnecessary stress and, in the workplace, allow you to experience greater job satisfaction. Conflict is not an inherently bad thing if it leads to positive outcomes, but many of our verbal skirmishes create serious tension. Unnecessarily intense arguments can erode trust, build resentment, involve hurtful insults, and ultimately undermine productivity. To help de-escalate conflict, keep this in mind: You will rarely succeed in winning control over someone or outwitting them in a heated exchange. To interrupt tension quickly, try one of these three tactics: (1) Interrupt the flow of anger with a relevant statement about something you both agree on. This often creates a “reset” effect and halts intensity. (2) Switch your role from “co-arguing” to that of an empathetic listener. This also flips the script. (3) Let go. Don’t tie your psychological survival to winning or losing. Virtually all heated arguments are fueled by the fear and psychological impact of loss. It is often easier to end a conflict by reminding yourself you don’t have to prove anything to the other person. To become a de-escalation pro, practice these intervention techniques. You will fear conflict less, discover the arguments that are worth pursuing, and create more collaboration, while making your job more enjoyable.  

UR Medicine EAP is brought to you by Well-U, helping eligible individuals to assess issues, and provide short-term counseling and referrals.


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