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Moving toward others while remaining true to ourselves can be challenging. In an interview with Brené Brown that appeared in Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, Michelle Buck, PhD, clinical professor of leadership at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, offers these tips for respectfully navigating disputes so we can create deeper connections.

Increase mutual understanding. Rather than ending a conversation by “agreeing to disagree,” decide to fully explore how all parties involved feel about all the issues.

Get to the root of the argument. Ask the other person about his or her intentions, motives, and interests in having the discussion, and share yours.

Leave the past behind. Rather than bringing up prior conversations, shift the focus to the present and to what you hope to accomplish in the future together.

Listen to learn. When you’re ready to turn away from or end a conflict, use “tell me more” or “help me understand.” This fosters connection by letting the other person know you’re really paying attention and invested in the relationship.

This originally appeared as “4 Ways to Transform Conflict” in “In Search of True Belonging” in the October 2018 print issue of Experience Life.

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