The Three Needs That People Have In A Conflict


There are many human needs that people have, but in the context of an interpersonal conflict setting, three obvious ones come to mind. As simple as they are, these three needs are often the cause of unnecessary conflict or the escalation of a small dispute because one of the two parties does not realize that they are not meeting the others needs.

To Be Heard & Acknowledged Without Evaluation

During interpersonal communication, the other person has a need for you to listen to their ideas and to acknowledge them. The need to be heard also goes with the need to express one's inner feelings without the fear of evaluation, judgment, or reprisal for making it known.

To Have Options & To Practice Independence

Autonomy is a basic human need. We hate to be forced to do anything without a say or choice in the matter and many of us will resist or defy just based on not having a say in the matter. Parents are the best experts on this need. When we tell our child to go to bed or to brush their teeth, or to eat their vegetables, or take their medicine, what is the one is the #1 response? 'No' It's not so much that they don't disagree with the decision, but merely that they want to exert their own independence and free-will into the process. As adults, we are no different, we've just found more creative ways to articulate 'No.'

To Have Answers, Explanations, & Reasons

Realize that everyone has a curious nature. It is programmed in us. Once our interest is sparked by something, we usually can't leave it alone until we get a satisfactory answer on it. Therefore if we shut someone down with a position that offers no explanation or reason, then this will create resistance and resentment. Bureaucrats and authority figures often get into the bad habit of telling people that nothing can be done because 'its policy' or 'its the law.' This shuts them down without offering an explanation to them that satisfies their need. Their only recourse then is to take it out onto the person by making them the villain.




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