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The upside of conflict.  Sure, conflict is often unpleasant, but there’s a silver lining too. Drop in next month when we explore that upside and how to maximize it. Sign up to receive our upcoming newsletters.


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Managing Tribe-based Conflict

At its core, a tribe is held together by the need for safety and well-being. Individually, each member has the same need… it’s what draws us to this or that group. Adolescents feel the pull most keenly, for they are all too aware of the pitfalls of not belonging, and the sense of well-being that comes from feeling wanted and safe.

In order to be accepted into and fully belong to a tribe, we must take on and adhere to a tribe’s beliefs. The tribe may have employed rational thinking in the construction of those beliefs, and individually, we may use rational thinking to justify them, but the beliefs are nevertheless built on that core need for safety and well-being.

When we’re in conflict, beliefs and passions, pushed by our core concerns, become evident. The carefully constructed balance between rational thought and emotion shifts. We become defensive; we shift the argument into one about our stance or opinion on the subject, rather than staying with the issue that’s on the table. In essence, we’ve begun to argue unconsciously about who we are and what ‘our crowd’ is about. Once that happens, we’ve positioned ourselves to see the person we’re in conflict with as someone who doesn’t belong: as the ‘other’; the lesser…all of which makes it easy to dismiss their perspective.

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