The Third Phase of Objection

What causes conflict?
I believe what happens is that most people allow the first, second and even the third offense to take place and only then react or object but by then the reaction can and usually is so disproportionate to the offence. We have all been there and suffered this type of wrath, for example our partner leaving the lid off the toothpaste, and reacting with “I’m sick or this!” or “I’ve had enough! The funny thing is we all know that this reaction is wrong but we seem to be stuck in this cycle of rewarding poor behavior for even poorer behavior. I guess that is why most people try avoid confrontation but this this just maintains and possibly escalates the cycle.

So my simple solution is to agree beforehand to use a mild objection for behavior that offends us, such as a:
1.Caution in real-time, as a proportionate response to whatever is offensive, “I would like to caution you”. Then to receive a simple acknowledgement in response to the caution. But if our caution was not successful in receiving that acknowledgment then we can raise the stakes to the next Objecting phase and use an official:
2. Objection to receive a simple apology, “I would like to Object”. And finally, if still unsuccessful and we don’t receive a simple apology then we can raise to the next Objecting phase to a:
3. Stop, in which case a more complex and responsible acceptable apology would be required from the offender, “I would like to stop now”. And part of the apology given by the offender would be in reference to how and why we go to the third phase of the objection. The apology would be along the lines of :

  • What I did
  • Why I did it and
  • What I will do next time

As I mentioned this will only work if the process is agreed to before hand, applies to all parties and any false objections would also need to be acknowledged and apologised for if the objection was eventually overruled.

Three Phases of Objecting

Few people if any really know the difference between objecting and disagreeing, until it is explained to them and then it makes perfect sense. Please tell me if I was wrong and leave a comment below if you knew.

Even in wikidiff it doesn’t clearly explain it. The difference is, I think, that we object to people’s behavior (delivery) in a conversation but only disagree with the content of their delivery. So simple in hindsight. And why is this important? Because now that we understand this we can split a discussion into two parts focusing exclusively on the person. ie. their content and their delivery of the content. Disagreeing only with the content and objecting only with the delivery.

Most psychologists recommend we focus only on “the issues not the person” but somehow we seem to have ended up throwing out the baby with the bath water. Now that we can focus on the person again, – delivery and content, we can work on some agreed to rules of engagement, especially about delivery or behavior. It is imperative, however to ensure that we agree to these rules before engaging. Here are a few I have prepared before hand.

When we find the other’s delivery to be offensive in any way we can object, in real-time but here is the trick. We can split the objection into three phases that starts out very mild and increases in accountability if there is any recalcitrance or disputing of the initial objection.

For example: If we agreed that the first objection was called a 1. Caution and it just required an acknowledgement from the offender. If this was done, then we could return to the conversation or discussion.

However if an acknowledgement was not forthcoming then the offended could ratchet up the objection, in real-time, to an 2. Objection, which now would require a simple apology to continue.

And you guessed it, if the simple apology was not forthcoming by the offender then the objection could be raised to a 3. Stop and now an acceptable apology would be required by the offender. If that was not forthcoming, in real-time then the discussion would end until the objection was resolved. An example of an acceptable apology is, What I said. Why I said it and what I will say next time.

Of course their are variants in how this plays out as the objector may have misread the situation, in which case the alleged offender may be innocent. This would require further discussion and clarification until resolved and may even involve a third party to help resolve. Also each phase is consecutive and would always require us to begin with a caution.