Dealing with conflict in the era of hyper-disagreement was the subject of a symposium Thursday night at the YWCA.
Professor Barry Gan, director of the Center for Nonviolence at St. Bonaventure University, opened the discussion talking about some of his own experiences in working out conflicts in his life and then handed out a brochure listing steps to dealing with conflict.
The steps start with "Calm Down," which includes distracting yourself (count backward from 10, for example), relaxing, talking to yourself, and if all else fails, leave.
If you don't leave, try to reach an agreement to work it out. As the other person, "If I listen to you, will you listen to me?"
Gan promotes active listening, which includes paraphrasing the other person's concerns and asking if you are stating their position correctly.
If the disagreement is over something that needs a solution, agree to terms for a concrete solution.
Also participating in the panel were Rev. Roula Alkhouri, left in the photo, above, City Council President Eugene Jankowski and representing a gun-rights position in a later discussion, and Gary Pudup (not pictured), Upstate coordinator of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.
Event coordinators were Alkhouri, Rev. James Morasco, Morganville United Church of Christ, and Joanne Beck, Batavia YWCA.