art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time

Supporting Someone in Conflict

Being supportive of a friend, family member or colleague who is upset about an interpersonal conflict they are having (or had) takes on various forms. And, we may extend support in different ways, to different people, for different reasons.

Often we know the other person and provide support she or he typically has needed from previous experience. Sometimes we act on the type of support we prefer and project our needs onto others. That is, we might prefer to be left alone, to talk things through, to go out for a drink or meal, to see a show or other diverting event, to sit quietly and not say a thing, to be hugged, to cry and so on. Or, we may seek advice or any of the many other ways support may be best received.

Identifying what we need and finding out what the other person needs by way of support is critical though, and this week’s blog invites you to think about support and conflict – what you need and want, and also, how to be there for others during these times. To facilitate this line of inquiry, please consider a conflict you have had when you wanted support from others and one in which another person (like a friend or family member, etc.) was in conflict.

  • What was the dispute about that you were in?
  • What did you want by way of support? What did you need by way of support?
  • If you got support from someone and it was helpful, what specifically made it so?
  • If the support you received wasn’t helpful, why was that?
  • If no one tried to support you after the conflict, why was that? What was that like?
  • Generally-speaking, what sorts of conflict situations especially generate your need or want for support?
  • In general, what sort of support do you usually find most effective after you have been in a conflict? What type of support do others offer that is not very effective for you?
  • When you think of someone who wanted your support after a dispute, what did you think she or he wanted or needed from you? How did you know?
  • What type of support are you most comfortable giving? Why is that?
  • What challenges do you have with giving support to others after their conflicts? Why is that?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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