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Conflict Resolution Series: Learning Objectivity and Removing Emotion

“All’s fair in love and war.”- John Lyly from the novel Euphues

Fighting brings out the worst in many people. The thing is, disagreeing doesn’t have to be fatal. Being at odds with someone passionate about their belief is one thing - being mean and nasty about it is entirely another. Believe it or not, you can fight with someone in a fair way.

Removing emotions during conflict is the best way to disagree with someone and not lose your cool. Fighting fair, using techniques that express opinions, facts, and intentions can lead to a mature resolution from two opposing parties. It may seem outrageous to imagine fighting without feeling anger. It is tough - if that is all you’ve ever known. Fighting fair includes an element of respect and grace that supersedes the need to win at all cost.

Let’s look at the win-at-all-costs method of fighting compared to the fighting fair tactics and see which has more merit.

Win-at-all-costs methods

  • Include coercion

  • Are driven by ego

  • Include name calling and global statements

  • Look for weakness to get ahead

  • Promote us-and-them mentalities

  • Are unapologetic for actions in the name of winning

  • Run off adrenaline

  • Seek to dominate and overpower

Fighting Fair methods

  • Use active listening

  • Are driven with community in mind

  • Refrain from accusatory and global statement language

  • Look for common ground to get ahead

  • Think about outcomes that include all parties

  • Seek consensus and ask for feedback

  • Manage their tempers at all times

  • Seek to include and make others feel comfortable

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or behavior psychologist, to see that fighting fair is preferable to the win-at-all-costs model. But, can everyday people manage to fight fair, or is this only for the professionals? Anyone can learn to fight fair. It takes practical experience and some trial and error, but anyone can learn to fight fair.

Fighting fair includes many tools but removing emotion from a situation is one of the most important. I bet you’re wondering how to do this. Well, here you go!

Removing the emotion from a fight begins with taking an aerial view of the issue at hand. Knowing that there is a conflict and expecting it to get heated is the first step towards staying calm. Remind yourself that it is natural to feel hot, nervous, and have adrenaline if the stakes of the conflict are high.

Prepare for the emotions. The better you know yourself, the easier you can manage your emotions. From counting to ten in your head before speaking, to using breathing techniques, and ending in taking a time out, there are many ways to get ahold of your emotions as you move towards resolution.

Fighting fair isn’t a new idea. Countless people have the skills to fight fair and resolve their deepest conflicts. Learn how to manage your emotions, and you will be able to connect with those you are in conflict with rather than disconnect.

Are you ready to improve some area in your life with coaching? Call me to see if it’s a good fit… +1 971-319-0452 or email


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