Stuck in an Argument? Check Out the Balcony View. A Massachusetts Divorce Mediation Tip

massachusetts mediation tip -- view from a balcony

Ever get so frustrated in a disagreement because you just know that you are right? That your point of view seems so crystal clear?

Of course, you have. I certainly have!

It feels good to stick to your guns. Doing so may even occasionally work in your favor. Most of the time however the tension will remain or get worse. The conflict will become more and more entrenched as the disagreement either escalates or goes underground. Resentment will build.

The View From the Balcony

I learned an important lesson in a leadership program. My teacher, John D’Auria, taught that an effective leader takes in the balcony view. With distance, he argued, a leader can dispassionately view, evaluate and appreciate all elements of an issue.

Take My Own Advice? A Massachusetts Divorce Mediation Professional?

Some time later I was in an argument with someone and becoming more and more frustrated. I was not happy!

Did I take my own sage mediator advice? Did I immediately take the high road?

Nope. I festered. I complained to my wife. I plotted my rebuttal. I was going down a road someone who preaches conflict resolution and provides divorce mediation in Massachusetts should avoid.

Oh Yeah…

That balcony thing.

I thankfully remembered John’s words. I forced myself to step back, climb the steps to the balcony, and look down at what was transpiring.

It opened my eyes.

I gained a better understanding of the conflict, the other person’s perspective, and the negative implications of staying the course. I still had my view on the situation — and my strong feelings about it — but was now able to take a different approach and have more respect for the other person’s point of view.

As a result, we were eventually able to talk about the issue and find some common ground.

During some of my Massachusetts mediation sessions I have introduced the concept of taking the balcony view. It has helped divorce and parent-teen clients in the same way it helped me!

When you are angry or frustrated and feeling stuck take a walk  — or the elevator – up to the balcony and look down. Check out the view. Watch what is happening as if in a theater.

What do you see?


Please comment below — I would love to hear from you!


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About the Author ()

I help families resolve conflict through family mediation and divorce mediation in Massachusetts. My services include mediation for co-parenting disputes, marriage problems, separation and divorce, parents and teenagers, and family conflicts. The goal of my mediator's blog is to help teach or remind readers of helpful communication and conflict resolution techniques that can be used in their relationships. I live in Natick, MA with my wife, son and dog and mediate throughout the Metrowest Boston region. Please note that my name is spelled Ben Stich, not Ben Stitch.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Anne Lafleur says:

    Balcony view is good! Another tip I’ve used when stuck in arguments or resentment is to simply ask myself, “Might I be in the wrong?”. I think I got it from the (fabulous) book Bonds that Make Us Free. The beauty of it is that you don’t even have to believe that you are wrong in any way for the question to start shifting you to that balcony view.

    Have a great day!

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