For a representative of any profession, and especially for a principal, who regularly has to deal with a large number of individuals, it is of pivotal importance to be able to efficaciously resolve conflicts and reconcile people with one another, as well as to help them preserve good relationships with each other and repair these if an adverse situation took place. It is stated that among the powerful defusing techniques which may be employed in order to considerably lower the degree of conflict is the utterance of a statement “I am sorry that happened.” It is advised to utilize it, among other circumstances, in a situation when the principal is dealing with belligerent parents.
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It is stressed that, on the whole, in a very wide range of situations, it is possible to say the phrase “I am sorry that happened” so as to “defuse” a conflict. It should be noted that uttering that phrase can be sincere in any adverse circumstances, for one will almost certainly be sorry that the situation in question took place. It is important that one does not need to specify why exactly they are sorry; a principal may simply say “I am sorry that happened” to a parent while being actually sorry that the parent is standing in front of them. However, uttering that phrase will still be sincere, and, at least technically, the principal will not even lie at all.
It might be possible to assume that uttering that phrase to a belligerent parent will work as a powerful defusing technique because the parent who behaves angrily may sometimes perceive their current interlocutor as an opponent whom they wish to defeat in a verbal contest, or whom they (partly) blame for what has occurred. By saying “I am sorry that happened,” the principal seemingly yields and stops being an opponent; it may even be possible to state that by saying so, the principal takes the side of the parent and shows their compassion with respect to the negative situation in question, thus practically “disarming” the parent by making the subsequent verbal attacks which would otherwise follow pointlessly.
It is paramount to emphasize that uttering this statement in a dialogue with an offensive parent does nothing which would compromise the principal. By saying so, the principal does not accept the blame for the situation and does not say that the problem was the principal’s (or anyone else’s) fault. The principal only expresses their (sincere) regret pertaining to the adverse situation in question; it is even noted that the regret will be the stronger the more offensively the parent behaves. Thus, uttering the statement does not weaken the principal’s position, but it often permits for creating grounds for subsequent mutual understanding which would allow the principal to create good relationships with the parent and work towards the resolution of the conflict, as well as towards addressing the causes of the adverse circumstances that resulted in it.
All in all, it should be highlighted that the phrase “I am sorry that happened” might be employed as a powerful tool for defusing conflicts, in particular, in the situation when a principal is forced to deal with a belligerent parent. Using this statement may permit for creating the perception that the principal took the parent’s side, which allows for creating grounds that may be used so as to build a mutual understanding, while not compromising the position of the principal or any other particular individual.