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Old 06-11-05, 03:04 PM
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Exclamation Tips for resolving conflict online

Tips for Resolving Conflict Online
http://www.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/conflict.html
What can be done to prevent unnecessary conflict in cyberspace? The following are tips for handling conflict online with respect, sensitivity, and care:


Don’t respond right away
When you feel hurt or angry about an email or post, it’s best not to respond right away. You may want to write a response immediately, to get it off your chest, but don't hit send! Suler recommends waiting 24 hours before responding - sleep on it and then reread and rewrite your response the next day.


Read the post again later
Sometimes, your first reaction to a post is a lot about how you're feeling at the time. Reading it later, and sometimes a few times, can bring a new perspective. You might even experiment by reading it with different tones (matter-of-fact, gentle, non-critical) to see if it could have been written with a different tone in mind than the one you initially heard.


Discuss the situation with someone who knows you
Ask them what they think about the post and the response you plan to send. Having input from others who are hopefully more objective can help you to step back from the situation and look at it differently. Suler recommends getting out of the medium in which the conflict occurred - in this case talking to someone in person - to gain a better perspective.


Choose whether or not you want to respond
You do have a choice, and you don’t have to respond. You may be too upset to respond in the way that you would like, or it may not be worthy of a response. If the post is accusatory or inflammatory and the person’s style tends to be aggressive or bullying, the best strategy is to ignore them.


Assume that people mean well, unless they have a history or pattern of aggression
Everyone has their bad days, gets triggered, reacts insensitively, and writes an email without thinking it through completely. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have good intentions.

On the other hand, some people pick fights no matter how kind and patient you are with them. They distort what you say, quote you out of context, and make all sorts of accusations all to vilify and antagonize you. Don't take the "bait" by engaging in a struggle with them - they'll never stop. Sometimes, the best strategy is to have nothing more to do with someone.


Clarify what was meant
We all misinterpret what we hear and read, particularly when we feel hurt or upset. It’s a good idea to check out that you understood them correctly. For example, you could ask, “When you said...did you mean...or, what did you mean by...?” Or, “when you said...I heard...is that what you meant?” Often times, what we think someone said is not even close to what they meant to say. Give them the benefit of the doubt and the chance to be clear about what they meant.


Think about what you want to accomplish by your communication
Are you trying to connect with this person? Are you trying to understand them and be understood? What is the message you hope to convey? What is the tone you want to communicate? Consider how you can convey that.


Verbalize what you want to accomplish
Here are some examples, “I want to understand what you’re saying.” “I feel hurt by some stuff that you said. I want to talk about it in a way that we both feel heard and understood.” “I want to find a way to work this out. I know we don’t agree about everything and that’s okay. I’d like to talk with you about how I felt reading your post.” “I hope we can talk this through because I really like you. I don’t want to be argumentative or blaming.”


Use “I” statements when sharing your feelings or thoughts
For example, “I feel...” versus “You made me feel...”


Use strictly feeling statements
Feeling statements include saying you felt hurt, sad, scared, angry, happy, guilty, remorseful, etc. In everyday conversations, we describe our feelings differently than this. For example, we say that we felt “attacked”, “threatened”, “unsafe”, or “punched in the stomach”. When the person we’re upset with is not present, or able to read our words, this is an understandable way to express the full depth of our feelings and experience. Generally though, these statements are not simply feeling statements because they contain within them unexpressed beliefs. For example, you believe that you were attacked by the person, not that it just felt that way. If you want to communicate with the person involved (or they can read your words), it is best to stick to simple feeling statements otherwise they will hear you as accusing them of attacking them and be angry or upset with you. Some people get confused why other people get upset with them when they think they are only expressing their feelings; usually in these cases there were unstated beliefs expressed which the person reacted to.


Choose your words carefully and thoughtfully, particularly when you’re upset
Do your best to keep in mind that the person will read your post alone. You are not physically or virtually present with them to clarify what you meant, and they can’t see the kindness in your eyes. They must rely entirely on your words to interpret your meaning, intent, and tone. This is why it’s important to choose your words carefully and thoughtfully. You can still be real and honest while being selective.


Place yourself in the other person’s shoes
How might they hear your message? To avoid unnecessary conflict or a lot of hurt feelings, it helps to take into account who you’re writing to. One person might be able to hear you say it exactly how you think it, and another person would be threatened by that style of communication. Think about the other person when writing your email or post. Do your best to communicate in a way that is respectful, sensitive, and clear to them. People often say, to do that feels like they’re being controlled and why shouldn’t they just write it the way they want to. Of course you can write it any way you want, especially online, but if you want to communicate with this person and have them hear and understand what you’re saying, it helps to think about how they will hear it.


Use emoticons to express your tone
In online communication, visual and auditory cues are replaced by emoticons, for example, smiles, winks, and laughter. It helps to use emoticons to convey your tone. Additionally, if you like the person, tell them! Having a conflict or misunderstanding doesn’t mean you don’t like the person any more, but people often forget that reality, or don’t think to say it. It may be most needed during a tense interaction.


Start and end your post with positive, affirming, and validating statements
Say what you agree with, what you understand about how they feel, and any other positive statements at the beginning of your email. This helps set a positive tone. End on a positive note as well.

Suler, J. (2002). The basic psychological features of cyberspace. In The Psychology of Cyberspace, www.rider.edu/suler/psycyber/basicfeat.html (article orig. pub. 1996)
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  #2  
Old 07-17-05, 02:38 AM
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Pretty good stuff there Chel.

Thanks for sharing this information and I enjoyed the site links. Will go back for further "study".
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Old 07-17-05, 03:37 PM
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Well done. As usual your contributions here are outstanding.

So much wisdom here! Practise, practise, practise.
Cheers! Ian.
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Old 07-17-05, 03:39 PM
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This is great!!!!
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Old 07-17-05, 07:14 PM
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Chel, this is fantastic information. Thanks for taking the time to research all of this.
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Old 01-19-07, 07:31 AM
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how about some tips for resolving offline conflict, please.
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Old 01-19-07, 11:50 AM
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Read books on COMMUNICATIONS, or CONFLICT RESOLUTION, in particular.

I read one book recently called "the third side", and another called "difficult conversations".
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Old 01-19-07, 11:55 AM
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"Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" is a good one for male/female communications difficulties too. My opinion of course.
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Old 06-04-07, 11:08 PM
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Old 11-03-07, 01:04 AM
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Re: Tips for resolving conflict online

I have created much destruction through my impulsive actions. Things like texting can be toxic for people with adhd. I have completely destroyed potential relationships this way and am now licking my own self inflicted wounds
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Old 06-30-08, 08:00 AM
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Re: Tips for resolving conflict online

thanks for the info!!
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Old 07-12-08, 11:30 PM
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Re: Tips for resolving conflict online

Quote:
Originally Posted by EYEFORGOT View Post
Tips for Resolving Conflict Online
http://www.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/conflict.html
What can be done to prevent unnecessary conflict in cyberspace? The following are tips for handling conflict online with respect, sensitivity, and care:


Don’t respond right away
When you feel hurt or angry about an email or post, it’s best not to respond right away. You may want to write a response immediately, to get it off your chest, but don't hit send! Suler recommends waiting 24 hours before responding - sleep on it and then reread and rewrite your response the next day.


Read the post again later
Sometimes, your first reaction to a post is a lot about how you're feeling at the time. Reading it later, and sometimes a few times, can bring a new perspective. You might even experiment by reading it with different tones (matter-of-fact, gentle, non-critical) to see if it could have been written with a different tone in mind than the one you initially heard.


Discuss the situation with someone who knows you
Ask them what they think about the post and the response you plan to send. Having input from others who are hopefully more objective can help you to step back from the situation and look at it differently. Suler recommends getting out of the medium in which the conflict occurred - in this case talking to someone in person - to gain a better perspective.


Choose whether or not you want to respond
You do have a choice, and you don’t have to respond. You may be too upset to respond in the way that you would like, or it may not be worthy of a response. If the post is accusatory or inflammatory and the person’s style tends to be aggressive or bullying, the best strategy is to ignore them.


Assume that people mean well, unless they have a history or pattern of aggression
Everyone has their bad days, gets triggered, reacts insensitively, and writes an email without thinking it through completely. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have good intentions.

On the other hand, some people pick fights no matter how kind and patient you are with them. They distort what you say, quote you out of context, and make all sorts of accusations all to vilify and antagonize you. Don't take the "bait" by engaging in a struggle with them - they'll never stop. Sometimes, the best strategy is to have nothing more to do with someone.


Clarify what was meant
We all misinterpret what we hear and read, particularly when we feel hurt or upset. It’s a good idea to check out that you understood them correctly. For example, you could ask, “When you said...did you mean...or, what did you mean by...?” Or, “when you said...I heard...is that what you meant?” Often times, what we think someone said is not even close to what they meant to say. Give them the benefit of the doubt and the chance to be clear about what they meant.


Think about what you want to accomplish by your communication
Are you trying to connect with this person? Are you trying to understand them and be understood? What is the message you hope to convey? What is the tone you want to communicate? Consider how you can convey that.


Verbalize what you want to accomplish
Here are some examples, “I want to understand what you’re saying.” “I feel hurt by some stuff that you said. I want to talk about it in a way that we both feel heard and understood.” “I want to find a way to work this out. I know we don’t agree about everything and that’s okay. I’d like to talk with you about how I felt reading your post.” “I hope we can talk this through because I really like you. I don’t want to be argumentative or blaming.”


Use “I” statements when sharing your feelings or thoughts
For example, “I feel...” versus “You made me feel...”


Use strictly feeling statements
Feeling statements include saying you felt hurt, sad, scared, angry, happy, guilty, remorseful, etc. In everyday conversations, we describe our feelings differently than this. For example, we say that we felt “attacked”, “threatened”, “unsafe”, or “punched in the stomach”. When the person we’re upset with is not present, or able to read our words, this is an understandable way to express the full depth of our feelings and experience. Generally though, these statements are not simply feeling statements because they contain within them unexpressed beliefs. For example, you believe that you were attacked by the person, not that it just felt that way. If you want to communicate with the person involved (or they can read your words), it is best to stick to simple feeling statements otherwise they will hear you as accusing them of attacking them and be angry or upset with you. Some people get confused why other people get upset with them when they think they are only expressing their feelings; usually in these cases there were unstated beliefs expressed which the person reacted to.


Choose your words carefully and thoughtfully, particularly when you’re upset
Do your best to keep in mind that the person will read your post alone. You are not physically or virtually present with them to clarify what you meant, and they can’t see the kindness in your eyes. They must rely entirely on your words to interpret your meaning, intent, and tone. This is why it’s important to choose your words carefully and thoughtfully. You can still be real and honest while being selective.


Place yourself in the other person’s shoes
How might they hear your message? To avoid unnecessary conflict or a lot of hurt feelings, it helps to take into account who you’re writing to. One person might be able to hear you say it exactly how you think it, and another person would be threatened by that style of communication. Think about the other person when writing your email or post. Do your best to communicate in a way that is respectful, sensitive, and clear to them. People often say, to do that feels like they’re being controlled and why shouldn’t they just write it the way they want to. Of course you can write it any way you want, especially online, but if you want to communicate with this person and have them hear and understand what you’re saying, it helps to think about how they will hear it.


Use emoticons to express your tone
In online communication, visual and auditory cues are replaced by emoticons, for example, smiles, winks, and laughter. It helps to use emoticons to convey your tone. Additionally, if you like the person, tell them! Having a conflict or misunderstanding doesn’t mean you don’t like the person any more, but people often forget that reality, or don’t think to say it. It may be most needed during a tense interaction.


Start and end your post with positive, affirming, and validating statements
Say what you agree with, what you understand about how they feel, and any other positive statements at the beginning of your email. This helps set a positive tone. End on a positive note as well.

Suler, J. (2002). The basic psychological features of cyberspace. In The Psychology of Cyberspace, www.rider.edu/suler/psycyber/basicfeat.html (article orig. pub. 1996)
All of these a great tips.

Sometimes it's impossible to take an online break to just think and overcome hurt. Cyber-silence can create more problems

1.You either stay and spout off cause you're too upset

2. you remove yourself to think and hurt in silence so you can figure out what to say later to not hurt other's feelings - which makes you more of a monster for not responding right away

What was #3 again
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Old 07-14-08, 11:49 AM
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Re: Tips for resolving conflict online

Quote:
Originally Posted by i4got View Post
All of these a great tips.

Sometimes it's impossible to take an online break to just think and overcome hurt. Cyber-silence can create more problems

1.You either stay and spout off cause you're too upset

2. you remove yourself to think and hurt in silence so you can figure out what to say later to not hurt other's feelings - which makes you more of a monster for not responding right away

What was #3 again

#3
The faster I can let go of the emotional attachment in a conflict the more potent my powers are to resolve the conflict.

http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16248

After many years of practise I can usually summon the where with all now to offer a peace offering in way of some compassionate response early enough to avoid the super charged silence.

I still make huge mistakes, but making amends early usually makes things better and when it doesn't it's often clear to me by that time what is my responsibility and what isn't. It's a heck of a tough call to roll over.
Cheers! Ian
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>>A: Because it reverses the logical flow of conversation.
>>>Q: Why is top posting frowned upon?

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Old 07-21-08, 02:44 PM
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Re: Tips for resolving conflict online

Quote:
Originally Posted by EYEFORGOT View Post

Assume that people mean well, unless they have a history or pattern of aggression
Everyone has their bad days, gets triggered, reacts insensitively, and writes an email without thinking it through completely. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have good intentions.

This is a very enlightening post. We must never forget how many different people there are on this forum. We come from all nations, cultures and relgious persuasions, and from all walks of life. There are many different stories to tell and not all of those stories are happy.
Also remember that it is somewhat in our nature to say impulsive things. And perhaps the elation of finally finding ourselves among people who understand us can sometimes get the better of us.
That makes for a tricky combination.
It requires understanding both on the side of the sender and on the side of the receiver.
But if there is one thing life should have taught us, it is understanding.
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Old 07-21-08, 03:35 PM
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Re: Tips for resolving conflict online

Yes, yes. Assuming the negative is very popular.
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A: Yes.
>Q: Are you sure?
>>A: Because it reverses the logical flow of conversation.
>>>Q: Why is top posting frowned upon?

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