Home Organizational Psychology Intervention / Consulting The Wonder of Interpersonal Relationships VIe: Strategies for Sustaining Relationships Midst Differences

The Wonder of Interpersonal Relationships VIe: Strategies for Sustaining Relationships Midst Differences

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I propose that fundamental viewpoints in our life tend to reside in one of three domains: information, intentions and ideas. Much as in the case of the domains that dominated life in medieval Europe, each of these three domains has its own operational rules, its own desired outcomes, and its own skill sets. Furthermore, significant differences of opinion often arise in each of these three domains. These differences must be addressed in quite different ways if there is major disagreement about the current state of affairs (domain of information), desired states of affairs (domain of intentions) or pathways for moving from the current to desired state of affairs (domain of ideas).

I turn now to these ways of dealing with diverse differences. I will consider ways in which to address differences of viewpoint as they are manifest in the three distinct domains. Different strategies should be engaged in each of these three domains—for the interpersonal dynamics and problem-solving strategies to be engaged in each domain are quite different (Bergquist, Sandstrom and Mura, 2023). I begin with the domain of information.

Domain of Information

This is the domain in which differences are most readily addressed and resolved: “Just find out what is really happening!” Unfortunately, with the polarization that is occurring in many societies right now and with the massive distribution of misinformation (Weitz and Bergquist, 2022), this resolution of differences is not quite as easy as, perhaps, it once was. At the very least, each party to the differences in viewpoint regarding information might try answering some basic questions.

Basic Questions

Given different perspectives, here are some questions to ask of both parties to the disagreement regarding information:
• What are the most salient facts with regard to the circumstance in which you now find yourself?
• What are the “facts” about which you are most uncertain at the present time? How could you check on the validity of these facts?
• What are alternative ways in which you could interpret the meaning or implications of the facts that you do believe to be valid?
• Where might the other party be correct regarding what they believe to be the facts?
• Where are you and the other party in agreement regarding the facts?
These questions might be asked to determine the type of information to be collected and the ways this information could be used.

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