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September 12, 2023

Neutral Arguments - How to Express Oneself During Conflict

During conflict, individuals say whatever enters their minds without the opportunity to process and think about what they are saying. As a result, their messages are distorted and confusing, leading to miscommunication. Using neutral arguments during conflict allows individuals to express themselves while minimizing emotional escalation and enabling others to understand their perspective. This leads to better communication and resolutions.

The goal of a conflict is not to win the argument but to resolve the issue. Often people focus on what they believe the solution is to be, which can lead to a stalemate. To avoid this, one must focus on the underlying interests of all parties. By exploring each party's interests and seeing how their position is beneficial, it may become clear that a compromise is possible.

While a disagreement and an argument are different, they can still quickly escalate into a destructive conflict. James McCroskey defines a disagreement as a difference in opinion while an argument is a verbal exchange between two or more people who hold differing opinions on a subject or subjects. Whether an argument becomes a conflict depends on the individual's tolerance for disagreeing and their ability to distinguish between personal attacks that can easily turn into verbally aggressive conflicts.

Neutral arguments allow for rational discussion, allowing individuals to be unaffected by emotional triggers and personal bias. They also encourage empathy, allowing individuals to see how their positions are beneficial to all parties and understand the underlying concerns. This enables them to reach out and find solutions that accommodate all parties' interests, which results in long-term positive outcomes. Additionally, by avoiding the use of "you" statements, neutral arguments are less likely to be perceived as offensive or blame-oriented, further reducing the chances of conflict escalation.