#017: Try this Method to Resolve Conflict Well–It’s Working for Millions [podcast & video]


Have you ever felt stuck in a friendship, because you had an unpleasant conflict and didn’t know what to do about it? Here is the method that has, and is, helping millions learn how to have those difficult conversations.

One of the key ingredients in this method is to believe that we wrongly interpret the other person’s words or actions 90% of the time. That fact was very hard for me to swallow.  Now, I realize it is true and it saves me from many conflicts!

The solution? Ask questions to learn what they really mean and get the story correct. Easy to say, hard to apply.  Here are some examples and helps to implement this:

Photo by Venture Vancouver

Photo by Venture Vancouver

Here is a video my daughter and I made to explain this concept. Link Here.

How does this help me with my friends?

1. You will have misunderstandings.

If misunderstandings are allowed to grow, the relationship will deteriorate.

2. No ability to have Intense Conversations

Our culture has lost the ability to have intense conversations where opinions differ or emotions are high.  We either fight that person or we ignore that person.

3. Hearing the truth draws you closer, not farther.

Many of us fear intense conversations, because they might reveal bad things about us or our friendships. I have found that when you have intense conversations you draw closer after it if you have a healthy method to work things through. Having a method can reduce our fear.


 The Method Explained by a Diagram

My friend, Skip, gave me the book Crucial Conversations during a crisis of relations and it gave me the key to unlock the door to handling difficult conversations.  He told me to read this book and come back next week to discuss it. I remember Skip drawing the Crucial Conversation diagram: “Fact to Story to Belief to Action.” Then he says this, “90% of the time we translate the facts WRONG and come up with a WRONG story.”

I am wrong 90% of the time. It was depressing and freeing.

Depressing to think I am wrong that often, and that I would have to put more work in.  Freeing to realize that I now have a road map to find the truth and be set free.

Here is the diagram he drew from the book:

 Crucial Conversation Diagram

Between Fact and Story, we have the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE). The FAE is what we assume the person really meant by their words or actions.  According to the authors of Crucial Conversations, we interpret the facts wrong 90% of the time!


Here is an example

While at dinner at your place, your friend asks, “What is the unique spice in your soup?”  You start to assume he is a jerk, because he doesn’t appreciate your soup.  How did you get there?

Bad Results Slides 14-15.015




What is the only difference?

How YOU interpreted the words. Remember, we get the interpretation wrong 90% of the time.


What are the key steps to get the right story?

  1. Ask questions to understand your friend better.
  2. Ask the best question: “This is what I am hearing________, is that right?”
  3. Listen to their answer.
  4. Believe their answer.
  5. State back to them what you heard them say and ask again to make sure you have it right.

Our experience has taught us that stating what you are hearing, graciously and kindly, clarifies most misunderstandings. In the rare cases where the person meant those hurtful words, it has allowed us to resolve the issue in a healthy manner and deepen the friendship.

Crucial Conversations is a goldmine of helpful tools, and we are going to address another of our favorites in our next blog and podcast. My recommendation: Go buy the book!  Here is a link to get it. Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition

As you journey from lonely to making Great Friends, you will have some conflicts.  How you handle that conflict will decide where the relationship goes. Having the skill to navigate conflicts will allow you to go deeper faster.

Question: Have you ever had a misunderstanding that lead to the end of a friendship? If you had the skills to discuss it, how do you think it might have gone differently?


  1. Frank,

    Thanks for watching the video. Nice catch on the misspelled words. You are second person to say, I need to speak faster. Would you agree that I also need to speak with more passion or energy?

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