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Use these three words when dealing with conflict

👂 Tip: De-escalate a potentially heated interaction with the phrase “That sounds frustrating.”

Ian Rowe, who has talked to approximately 3,380 upset customers throughout his life (he did the math!), shares this advice for communicating with an upset human: Acknowledge their feelings early on. In his Medium story on elevating your conflict game, he writes that a “magic phrase” you can use is “That sounds frustrating.” The words, he explains, do three things: 1) acknowledge the other person’s truth, 2) don’t place any blame on either party, and 3) allow you to start the conversation already agreeing about something. Use the phrase with the goal of finding a solution you both feel good about. “Conflict is not a bad thing,” Rowe writes. “It is integral to any group creative process, and part of how people who disagree find alignment. Since it happens all the time, you are better off to embrace it.”

🤝 More from Forge on transforming your relationships:

10 Conversational Hazards to Avoid During Conflict

Stop Trying to Win an Argument

Go to Bed Angry

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Senior platform editor at Forge @Medium. Author of Horizontal Parenting: How to Entertain Your Kid While Lying Down, coming this August.