Nonviolence Questions and Answers

Common Questions about Nonviolence at KBOO

“Isn’t it true that sometimes you have to yell at someone to get their attention?” We have found, based on actual experiences at KBOO, that when conflicts appear to be resolved through verbal violence, what really happens is that the other person just withdraws and avoids the person who hurt them. They often go to others to share their story of the bad experience, and the conflict actually grows, even though it seems calmer for awhile.


“Should I call the police?” We avoid calling the police whenever possible. Is there a staff member or other person available who can gently help the person? Can it wait until later, or is there an immediate physical threat?


“I didn’t intend to humiliate them. I was ‘just stating the facts’ as I saw them.” Ask yourself, “Did I say it with love?”


“Maybe I should just “vent” to my friend or colleague.” Venting can be a good chance to blow off steam so that you can then deal with the problem directly. You may use venting to calm down so that you can come back tomorrow with an open heart. Gossiping or saying bad things about people will only make the problem worse. We will talk directly with the person who offended us, or get support from the appropriate staff or board person to do so.


“I don’t have a problem. They have a problem.” We will try to understand our own role in the conflict and how we can help de-escalate the situation and reach resolution next time instead of escalating. This is our opportunity for growth in conflict.


Maybe it’s better to just “let it go.” Sometimes, things aren’t a big deal, but over time, a lot of little things will build up.


“If I don’t deal with it right this second, nothing will ever happen.” It’s important to interrupt violence right away, but if we’re upset, it’s often a good idea to take time to cool off before we look for resolution. Wait at least a day before sending the angry e-mail. If you’re still mad, wait another day or run it by someone who is skillful in communications. If you or the other person is on the air or about to be on the air, ask yourself if this really has to be addressed right this second. You can always say, “I’m sorry we’re having a disagreement. I want to work with you on this later.”


“It’s my First Amendment right to say anything I want to.” We have a right as individuals to express our opinions, but we also have the right as a community to create safety and respect. How can we express ourselves without hurting others?


“Sometimes I get angry. You can’t expect me to never get angry.” We all get angry, we also all make mistakes, but we can choose what to do with our anger and with our mistakes. How do we address them with kindness towards ourselves and the other person?


“Should we ‘compromise’?; Can we just ‘agree to disagree’?” We can, and sometimes that’s the best we can do. But compromising or agreeing to disagree doesn’t really leave either party satisfied. Better still is to find a solution that give both people what they want—or even more than they wanted.


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