You don’t care about me!  You make me so mad!

You did that on purpose, didn’t you?!

Does this sound familiar? When the heat is on, we often throw these conversational hot potatoes back and forth with our sparing partner.  And all that usually surfaces from the heated conversation are some searing, tender blisters on our egos and hearts.

There truly is a way to handle conflict that helps calm the emotions and soothe the assumptions that tend to fly when a disagreement erupts.  You don’t have to know a ton of psychology or have great communication skills to use it either.  You just need to know some important questions, because very often the conflict arose due to misunderstandings in the first place.  Instead of making the focus “you need to understand me,” make it “help me to understand you.” In other words, quit trying to make your point and try instead to understand your partner’s point. And the way to do that is through some good and important questions.


Ask what the other person perceives is the problem you are responsible for:

What have I specifically been doing to make matters worse?


Ask the other person if you understand what he/she feels is your part of the problem:

So you feel that I’ve done . . . is that right?

If you do not understand what this person feels is your part of the problem, repeat questions 1 and 2 until you get it right.


Ask about the other person’s feelings:

How has that made you feel?


Be certain that you understand the other person’s feelings accurately:

So you’ve felt . . . is that right?

Tell the person what you heard about his/her feelings in specific terms.


Identify what the other person needs for you to do:

What can I specifically do to help you feel better?


Identify how the other person wants you to meet that need:

Is . . . what you would like me to do?

If you do not understand what this person wants you to do, repeat questions 4 and 5 again until you get it right.


Take responsibility:

Will you forgive me for . . . ?

Remember to be specific here too!


Request reversing roles:

Can I share with you what I’m feeling about the issue now?

Now you can swap roles and repeat the questioning procedure until you feel understood.

If you ask these 8 important questions the next time you have a conflict, I guarantee you—yes, you heard me right—“I guarantee you” that your conflict will go smoother and the two of you will not get so hot and bothered.  One word of caution, do not interrupt the questions with comments or disagreements of your own.  This will cause you to get off track and will escalate frustrations, as well as, confuse the process.

Please try this the next time you are in a conflict.  Then come back and tell me about it by commenting on this post!



Comments on: "8 Important Questions to Ask in Conflict" (1)

  1. Tori Kaase said:

    Awesome! Thanks, Beth. I promise to try it with Drake the next time we have a conflict. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes! Tori

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