The single greatest barrier to any form of agreement in the event of conflict is the emotional state of the one – or both – of the people. Take the situation of two spouses, who have just had a fight (let’s be frank, spouses fight) about one or more issues. It frequently follows the a standard model of starting with some event. Then an accusation comes into play, or some other thing that puts people into a defensive mode.
What are the methods of immediate conflict resolution? They typically are resolved in one of five ways: (1) Competition; (2) Accommodation; (3) Avoidance; (4) Compromise; or (5) Collaboration. These are simple to understand. Let’s say the issue involves an orange. A person can compete for it by either arguing or even by taking physical steps to take the whole of the orange. The second option is accommodation, where you may choose not to argue it and just accede to the other person’s demands. The third option, avoidance, is where both sides agree to let cooler heads prevail and revisit the issue at a later point.
When people are emotional and taking a defensive stance, they will not be compromising (you take half and I’ll take half). They will also not be collaborating, in which one may agree to take the rind and the other takes the pulp and juice.
In the emotional event the matter will not be resolved to both people’s satisfaction. It is best to just let heads cool a bit and wait until it can be revisited with an idea to compromise or collaborate.