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Calling a Truce

As a starting point to the subject of this week’s blog, the Oxford Dictionary (online) defines the expression “calling a truce” as “an agreement between enemies or opponents to stop fighting or arguing for a certain time”. In the middle of an interpersonal dispute this phrase may be used when we sense the timing is right to put a stop to the negative dynamics between us, and we hope that the other person may accept it is time for her or him, too. At these times, we may seek to make amends, or acknowledge things seem irreconcilable. Or, maybe we “call a truce” because of feelings of helplessness, despair and being fed up – no longer seeing any benefit in continuing the dispute and just wanting to retreat from the interaction.

Whether we or the other person call a truce, one of the questions we might ask ourselves is “What will things be like now?” That is, if one or the other of us is not ready something is likely to remain unreconciled. We may wonder if we will pick up where we left off at some unknown point in time, or whether things will be buried somewhere to resurface in some other context with another person.

This set of questions is for you if you have called a truce with someone about a conflict and you are not settled in yourself about having done so.

  • What compelled you to call a truce when you did? What did you specifically say when you called a truce?
  • What was the dispute about?
  • What did you hope to achieve by calling a truce?
  • What part or parts of that was accomplished (your answer to the previous question)? What wasn’t accomplished that you hoped would be?
  • How did the other person respond to you calling a truce?
  • What specifically remains unresolved for you? What might remain unresolved for the other person?
  • If you frame your call for a truce as something you need from the other person to be able to move on, what would that sound like? What might the other person state as something she or he needs from you?
  • What conflict masterful actions might you take to manage your lingering unresolved feelings relating to the dispute?
  • Going forward, how might you prevent unnecessary conflict emerging again on this matter?
  • What have you learned about calling a truce – whether it is you or the other person who does so?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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