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Resolve Your Conflicts Using the Avatar Method
This article goes about an unconventional practice I often use to sort out my conflicts. It’s called the avatar method and it aims to reduce the impact of emotions on a conflict. It helps to be more rational and cold-minded even when the situation catches fire. At the end, I provide you with a step-by-step guide to apply this technique, along with an infographic in case you forget the core principles.
This technique, among many others, comes from this book.
Most conflicts worsen because both interlocutors are over-involved and never step back to think twice before acting. They get overwhelmed by their emotions and because of that, they start being verbally, and sometimes physically, violent.
Indeed, the main obstacle to proper reasoning is the overwhelming burst of emotions that comes during and after the conflict. If you can overcome this obstacle, it is half the job done and it is the reason why this technique will be a game-changer for you.
The idea is to create an imaginary avatar to distance yourself from your emotions so your mind does not get overwhelmed. Therefore you can focus on the down-to-earth matter without paying attention to how you feel. And get the best out of your rational thinking.
This technique is easy to learn and to use. Just follow this step-by-step guide:
1. Shape the avatar. Give him a name and all the facts relevant to the conflict, either alone or in the presence of your interlocutor. Then, provide your avatar with his feelings associated with their precise cause and related event.
If you do it alone, create your interlocutor’s avatar as well, and be as neutral as possible.
2. Describe out loud the dispute occurring between your avatars as if they were complete strangers. You need to figure out why the avatars are fighting, and if there is a solution that could please everyone.
You must be fair and consider what each avatar is willing to do for the other. For instance, if one can’t make compromises, there is no point in arguing further.
3. Define what needs to be done so the situation can improve, by describing out loud each avatar’s perspective with your own words. Consider them as strangers having a quarrel and give your best pieces of advice to get them back together. Be concise and go straight to the point but remain honest, fair, and impartial.
Refrain from saying that only your counterpart’s avatar must change but rather focus on the situation as if it did not involve you.
In practice, this exercise is to be used when you can’t fathom what is happening and when you can’t understand why your disagreement does not resolve. It has the advantage to be feasible both alone and in the presence of your interlocutor. Also, you can start it back from zero in case you are not satisfied with your current session.
It aims to help you put words on feelings and thoughts, and examine your discord deeper.
In case you need an easier technique to manage your conflicts effectively, find one in this article.
This asset should help you remember the avatar method better, and you can download and share it to keep it on your phone in case you forget a point.