121. Stuck in the Middle? How To Respond When Friends Fight
Have you ever found yourself caught in the crossfire of someone else's conflict, unsure whether to jump in or step back? In this episode, we dive into the art of remaining neutral and promoting peace when conflicts arise around us in our homes, workplaces, and broader communities. Part of this responsibility is recognizing which conflicts to conscientiously engage with and which ones to skillfully avoid, especially those riddled with negativity, gossip, or counterproductive criticism.
Guiding listeners through this complex terrain, Alejandra shares essential guidelines. It's crucial, first and foremost, to listen with presence when someone confides in you. This means truly immersing oneself in the storyteller's share, understanding and empathizing with their feelings and values associated with the situation. Additionally, it's beneficial to probe a bit deeper, grasping their motivations and aspirations in the conflict, which ensures any support offered is perfectly aligned with their needs. However, if there's a strong bond of trust and mutual understanding, Alejandra suggests it might be appropriate to offer to role-play, but always prioritizing the comfort and emotional well-being of the individual who is sharing.
Conversely, it's equally important to know what to mindfully avoid. Passing negative judgments or remarks about others involved in the conflict can be tempting but is rarely helpful; it tends to breed more negativity. Moreover, approaching each conflict with a fresh, unbiased perspective is key, avoiding broad-brush statements or assumptions. Finally, it's vital to respect personal boundaries, only extending guidance, advice, or opinions when explicitly asked for, always valuing the autonomy of the individual navigating their conflict.
By internalizing these principles, listeners can consciously choose paths that lead to harmony over discord. The episode is a gentle reminder of the weight our words and actions carry. Our choices determine whether they fan the flames or soothe ruffled feathers.
• "We need to do all we can to contribute to peace at home, at work, in our families, and in our communities." (01:14 | Alejandra Siroka)
• "We need to be very mindful of the kinds of conflicts we are participating in and do all we can to stay away from unnecessary conflicts that involve fighting, gossiping, and toxic negative criticism." (01:25 | Alejandra Siroka)
• “If you take the letters of the word listen, L-I-S-T-E-N, and you rearrange them, you know what word you're going to get? You are going to get the word silent. So be silent and listen. Something you can do is pretend that your coworker or your friend is holding a mic when they're talking to you and you are letting them have that mic. And if at any point you'd like to say something, just limit yourself to reflecting what you've heard from them.” (10:36 | Alejandra Siroka)
• “The three don'ts are: Don't stoke the fire by talking badly about the other. Don't add ammunition by saying this dynamic is well known and it always happens. And don't give unsolicited advice or opinions” (14:50 | Alejandra Siroka)
• “The three do’s are: Listen and reflect on the experience the person telling you about the conflict has. Ask questions about their intention and offer to role play with you as if they were talking to the person they're having the conflict with.” (15:06 | Alejandra Siroka)
Language Alchemy Podcast episode 105, visit:
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Podcast Music composed by Gary Lapow: open.spotify.com/artist/1HlMhcNfKIELxYil5mVqD