Leave a Comment

The simplest way to resolve any conflict.


Today I am going to write about the simplest way to resolve any conflict.

The way I see it, the reasons why conflicts occur can be classified into “rational” and “non-rational”. And solutions have to be correspondingly tailored to the type of reasons conflicts happen.

“The Rational”


For the sake of discussion, let’s define “rational” simply as “involving money”.

If you get a fussy customer with no prior relationship with you, why would you want to bother about appealing to his ego, a.k.a making him happy with your goods/services?

The reason is because money is involved.

  • Short-term: The monetary transaction of goods and service.
  • Long-term: The monetary value of your reputation, which equates long-term business.

This also means that money can often be seen as a catalyst to conflict. If all reasons behind the conflict strictly relates to money, then things can be easily solved.  Either halt the transaction altogether, or negotiate based on logic and cost-benefit analysis.

Unfortunately, conflicts usually happen not solely because of rational reasons.

“The Irrational”

For the ease of argument, let’s define “the irrational” as “anything that does not involve money”.

In this case, conflicts happen because of

  • (A) Mismatch of expectations;
  • (B) Unresolved childhoods.

To solve (A) Mismatch of expectations is predominantly a matter of firstly foresight; and secondly, communication.

If one lacks foresight or experience, a.k.a “I don’t know what I don’t know because I haven’t encountered such things before”, then basically he has to adjust the other party’s expectations on the go.

This is when humility–fake or real– saves the day. Words like “oh, you must have overestimated me”, “Oh no, i’m not as great as you think” will help the other party lower their expectations, so that you can eventually over-deliver; if not, NOT under-deliver.

But regardless of fake or real humility, it is essential for the other party to perceive it as sincere.

Alternatively, learn to appreciate the art of acting dumb , or learn to make a habit of giving credit to your superiors, via associating your accomplishments with “their great leadership”.

Again, if it’s all about experience and then communication, then basically life will not be so difficult. The most challenging root of conflicts actually lies in…

(B) Unresolved Childhoods.


Unresolved childhood relates to the past hurts of YOUR ego. Everyone has a painful, hurt, deformed unresolved childhood to some extent.

Your adult self always tries its best to defend the poor child’s ego from being hurt further, by putting up layers of defence.

So, the idea is that this deformed ego of the child would actually go on hurting others in this person’s adult life. And if you observe enough conflicts related to the adult’s life, you would see a clear pattern.

To settle conflicts will be to see this person’s unresolved childhood for what it is, and either avoid offending this deformed childhood’s ego, or pacify it.

Conflicts that result from various value-systems is also closely linked to a person’s unresolved childhood. What I mean by value-system is the priorities of things.

So you see, when you insult a person’s e.g. religion and the other person take offence, it’s actually your unresolved childhood Vs the other person’s unresolved childhood.

The peaceful solution is actually to agree to disagree. So, how do you deal with people who do not agree to disagree? Basically, it’s to appeal to the other’s ego.

Why don’t people do that? It’s because they don’t want to risk subjecting their own ego to unnecessary hurt, or that there are no significant interests involved. So they don’t want to appeal to the other’s ego, because, “Why should I?” or “Who does he think he is?”

So, basically what to do in any conflicts is NOT to take things personally. Handle conflicts with a safe, cool distance and usually things will be OK.

So what is the simplest way to resolve any conflict?


It’s basically to appeal to egos!!

If you think about it closely, technically speaking–it’s not difficult at all to appeal to egos. The real question is only if you see that person as worth the effort. The general formulae is basically:

  • Step 1: Actively listen to the person;
  • Step 2: Agree sincerely with the person–see his/her point-of-view;
  • Step 3: Ta-da! Target ego-boosted, and compromise is easier.

Okay gotta go work, bye.

This entry was posted in: Random


Wan Wei is a PR practitioner with a heart for pretty things. Formally trained in public relations and quantitative economics, she is also a contributor to various ecosystems in Europe and Asia. Drop her a PM or visit her blog! :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s