In a recent blog I spoke about the olive branch as a symbol of peace. Another symbol of peace we often think of is the white flag.

According to Wikipedia: “The white flag is an internationally recognized protective sign of truce or ceasefire, and request for negotiation. It is also used to symbolize surrender, since it is often the weaker party which requests negotiation. A white flag signifies to all that an approaching negotiator is unarmed, with an intent to surrender or a desire to communicate. Persons carrying or waving a white flag are not to be fired upon, nor are they allowed to open fire. The use of the flag to surrender is included in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.”

We may not literally use a white flag when we want to call a truce in our interpersonal disputes. However, there are various ways we might choose to signal that it is a time to stop arguing and reconcile our differences.

If you have in mind an interpersonal conflict which feels to you that any more arguing is unproductive, this week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) are ones to consider.

  • What is the conflict about from your perspective? How might the other person describe what it is about?
  • What do you want as a solution to the conflict?
  • What does the other person want, as far as you know?
  • How is the conflict affecting you? How is it affecting your relationship with the other person?
  • How much does that matter (your answer to the last part of the above question) on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being very much and 1 being not at all?
  • How does your rating affect your desire to resolve matters? What else might your rating signify?
  • What is motivating you to wave a white flag at this time?
  • In your words, how do you describe what the white flag represents in this situation?
  • How might the other person interpret the flag that is different from your intent, if that is possible? What will you do to address that different interpretation, if applicable?
  • When you think of yourself waving a white flag as you described above, how does that feel? How do you expect to feel if the other person is open to what you intend by waving the white flag?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

Originally posted at

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