.If you’re apprehensive about using the Thirdside, know that in conflict situations it is totally normal for one party to willingly reach out for support, while another party may feel that engaging in a facilitated process is the last thing in the world they would do.
So, regardless of which side you are on here, your feelings are valid and normal within the context of conflict in general. Either way, there are several reasons why using the Thirdside can be beneficial to you.
First, when we are in a conflict having good boundaries and removing yourself when you start to escalate is called wisdom. However, not reengaging after you’ve had time to deescalate, collect yourself and consider your options - this is called conflict avoidance. Ongoing conflict avoidance comes with some kind of impact, to oneself, to those around them, and to the community in general.
A thirdsider or thirdside coach can be helpful by listening, and brainstorming options about how best to reengage. Rest assured that aim of the thirdsiders is to empower people to engage in conflict most productively to self, other and community. No one will ever tell you what to do.
What's the goal of Thirdsiders?
The goal of the Thirdsiders is to support community members to maintain connection to the wisdom within themselves in a way that supports and empowers Nylanders to, in the spirit of our community values (2005), use the Conflict Resolution Process (2013) in working with differences of opinion and conflicts that support individuals, relationships and the community.
A community member can use the Thirdside as a “sounding board” and perhaps reengage in the conflict in a more productive way. When both parties can reengage and come to resolve in best ways to go forward for self, other and community impact, the Thirdsiders participation stops there. An idealistic goal, perhaps it is idealistic, is for community members to do their best (for self, other and community) in working through conflicts, and use conflict situations as a way to deepen relationships.
Do Thirdsiders want everyone to make peace and just play nice?
“Make peace” and “just play nice” seems to imply stuffing ones feelings in the hopes of resolution. Know that this is not what we support. Stuffing feelings results in grudges and contracted patterns in the body that leak out in unproductive ways. The cliche statement, is “Holding a grudge is like swallowing poison and hoping the other person would die.”
The aim of the Thirdsiders is to support productive conflict - people doing conflict well. Doing conflict well starts with engaging: listening deeply to the needs and values of the other, and then expressing your own needs and values clearly and having them heard by the other. Doing conflict well means seeking best alternatives and options for self, other and community. If this piece is bumpy in the interaction, having a Thirdsider could prove useful.
If I talk to a Thirdsider do I have to mediate?
Some people mistakenly believe that if they reach out for support they will automatically be sacrificing their own personal power. Know that one of the Thirdside’s aims if to support and empower people, people who are in conflict, to do conflict well. This means engaging and staying engaged, which we know can sometimes be hard for people. We aim to stay engaged with you. Although we do have mediation skills, we Thirdsiders with numerous skills in numerous processes. The best one being supporting you to do conflict well, and that can look a variety of ways.