“Calling In” Versus “Calling Out”

Whether it be at a family gathering, in a classroom, or out in public, we are all likely to experience that moment when someone around us says something that is problematic and reinforces oppression. As a transgender person, I am constantly faced with the dilemma of how to respond when I am misgendered, or asked […]

Strategies to Name our Emotions

Eggs with drawn on faces, showing different emotions

Emotions are something we all feel, but when it comes to taking the time to name, can remain a challenge to navigate. Here at TREE, we use “I-statements” for the importance of implementing this strategy within scenarios of conflict to help communicate our true feelings. To use an I-statement, fill in the blanks: “I feel____when____”. […]

Reframing: How to Shift Your Perspective in Conflict

Women sitting on couch talking

When we hear a hurtful comment in a conversation, it is challenging not to respond from our feelings. Our emotions can be helpful to us but they can also derail us. During one particular conversation with a friend, I had intended to comfort them but my impact turned out to be harmful. Tension began to […]

When Failure Leads to Growth

Failure can bring up a mix of disappointing emotions. If we didn’t get first place or when we aren’t “the best,” we might struggle to come to terms with our shortcomings. It can be an especially hard life lesson to learn because often our fear of failure keeps us from trying in the first place. […]

How to Manage Miscommunication: Intent/Action/Effect

“I’m sure he knew what I meant.”  “She knows I was kidding!”  Sometimes, even when we have the best intentions, our words and actions hurt people. Maybe someone says something and it feels like a backhanded compliment. Or you respond with a sarcastic comment that leaves a sting. You can fill in the blank with […]

Managing Polarized Positions with Children and Youth

Positive diverse schoolchildren standing in corridor and talking

Have you ever been in conflict with someone where it seems like there is no solution because your views on a topic are so opposite? Have you ever felt like you couldn’t even enter into conversation about a topic because you felt you had no common ground? In these situations, it is easy to give […]

Books to Build Your Conflict Toolkit

man reading book beside woman reading book

I love conflict.* *I love what healthy conflict can teach us about ourselves and the people around us, but even with years of training and experience, I still get anxious during tough conversations. So naturally, it comes up often in conversation with my friends and family. When they ask me, “What should I do in […]

Gottman’s 4 Horsemen, and What We Can Try Instead

Multiethnic upset women scolding in room

When having conflict conversations, it can be easy to engage in behaviours that aren’t actually helpful to the situation. I know it happens to me sometimes, and it can happen in any relationship. Therapist Dr. John Gottman identified four behaviours, which he called the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” that he found to be the […]

Six Conflict Conversation Starters

Ethnic mother talking to daughter with gardening tools

I can count the number of times I’ve sat in silence with someone, building up the courage to begin a tough conversation. It takes me a few minutes to commit to the conversation, knowing I want to share how I’m feeling and ask them what’s going on for them. In tough conversations, it often takes […]