Appropriate Resolutions for life’s relationships.

… getting to the core of a conflict

     If you've ever had the nerve to 'dissect' a frustrating conflict in your life, what did you discover? Did you wonder why the conversation went off the rails? Why each of you ultimately talked by each other from ‘different planets’. Here is a story which by now, has become an urban myth in conflict training circles. Think about this option next time you're challenged with differences possibly heading downstream into conflict.


      Two buyers, looking for oranges, walked into a wholesaler's warehouse. You can imagine their surprise and frustration as they were told that there was only a limited supply because of an early frost in Florida. At this point, each also registered that someone else was competing for whatever oranges were available.


       Their reactions were swift. Assuming that to 'snooze' would be to lose, they practically tripped over each other getting to the clerk. As the bidding war escalated, the tension mounted as did the price of the oranges. They were hooked however. Getting the oranges had become a matter of pride, not merely about business. Soon, as the debate escalated, they began to sling abuse at each other. To the clerk, out of the line of fire, things looked like they might get out of hand at any moment.


       Suddenly, one of the bidders stopped, stepped back, and paused. The silence was deafening. After what seemed like an eternity, he went on in a calm voice; “This is getting us nowhere. Tell me, why do you need the oranges?” Now curious, the other bidder hesitatingly offered, “I work for a baker and he needs the rinds for a special rush order of orange-pound cakes." The first buyer broke out in a grin, happily responding with “That’s our answer then. My boss makes orange juice and only needs the ‘meat’. Why don’t we share the cost of the oranges, have them delivered to our plant, and, in a few hours we’ll send you all the rinds, ready for your cakes. You won’t even have to peel the oranges.”




       That’s all these two potential disputants needed to reach an agreement which worked for both. If they hadn’t explored the ‘WHYs’, they never would have resolved the ‘WHATs'. To get to the core of any conflict, you need to KNOW from the other(s) what is contributing to the 'fire', what the conflict is really all about. The core of the conflict is the place where resolutions wait to become part of the conversation. So next time you have a difference with someone, creatively and collaboratively work on a solution instead of reactively feeding escalation.  First however, you'll need to pause for the 'fire' to die down into embers so it doesn’t flare up again. Then, you will be able to get below the surface, below the skin of our metaphorical orange to those hidden layers where resolutions wait to be found.


       Don’t react! Stop and step back ’from the brink’ to explore WHY each of you needs WHAT you each want. You’ll probably find common ground. Remember, Create and React use the same letters, only the consequences are different. And with creativity, you get resolution.

Website table of contents  and Joseph Ravick …  links to what’s on this site and who I am.

ABOUT Conflict...  What conflicts look like…

DisputesWHAT DO DISPUTES LOOK LIKE,  and how do people react or respond when conflicts escalate into disputes? (the many faces of conflict),.

COMMUNICATION & CONFLICT  Definitions, terms, jargon

CONFLICT RESOLUTION TIPS AND GUIDELINES: Strategies and behaviours for you to apply when in conflict.

CONFLICT CHRONICLES: Original stories by Joseph Ravick with a common theme. The chronicles feature real-life conflicts describing the people, their relationships, and the outcomes which they experienced whether they liked it or not.