The crossroads between play and conflict

AMPLIFY YOUR POSITION

Take whatever it is that you are saying and, with your conflict partner, amplify both the message and the emotion. This will help you feel what is at the core of your message and start a conversation at a deeper level of honesty. Additionally, by expanding the emotion instead of contracting it, additional avenues for transformation are opened.

TAKE TURNS SWITCHING ROLES

After some active listening, simply switch roles with your partner, i.e. pretend that you have become them and are now defending their position. Feel free to amplify their perspectives to reflect how you have understood them.

MODIFY YOUR APPEARANCE

  • Continue expressing your arguments with your teeth over your lips, like a rabbit.
  • Squish your face together with your two hands.
  • Find a ridiculous hat.

VENTING

Each person has 5 minutes to vent. You can say whatever you want, the idea is to let everything out that needs to be said. The other person simply listens with the intention to understand.

GIBBERISH

Continue the conflict for a little bit in gibberish before continuing to your language of choice. While in gibberish mode, try to continue working on strong listening.

DRAW EACH OTHER AS A MONSTER

Draw the other as a monster in a way that shows how you are experiencing their behaviour. Explain to them the attributes of the monster and what they represent.

MIME OUT YOUR EMOTIONS TO A SONG

Find a song that represents how you feel in the conflict. Play the song and mime out the lyrics or the emotion that you associate with the song.

DEBATE

Get a trusted third party to hear your grievances using a debate formula, complete with rebuttals. It is agreed that whatever verdict and corresponding actions the judge determines will be followed by you and your conflict partner.

WRITE A LETTER

In the first section, write why you think your conflict partner is wrong. In the second section, write why you think your conflict partner is right. Share your letters.

CONFLICT CLEANING

Continue having the conflict, and while you argue, put your additional energy into cleaning together.

HIGH FIVES

Every time your conflict partner makes a good point, give them a high five. This reminds you that you are both working on moving forward together.

PUPPET CONFLICT

Find an object or puppet that represents you well in this moment. Continue the conflict through the puppets. Feel free to change their voices as you see fit. The distance offered by the puppets may allow new perspectives to arise.

THE CALM CHALLENGE

With some conflict partners, you may find there is no willingness to listen, validate your perspective or even care about you. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you can explore a fascinating solo game where the only objective is for you to stay light and calm while engaging with this difficult conflict partner. They insult you ? Don’t listen to you? Aren’t being kind ? Simply remember that their behaviour is not about you, and keep playing the game, unbeknownst to anyone but yourself. Of course, as with any game, feel free to disengage the moment you don’t want to be in the interaction anymore.

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Ez Bridgman

Ez Bridgman

Creative experience designer, facilitator and coach based in Montreal. #joy #play #learning / www.ezbridgman.com