Dissolve Conflict - Build Rapport

At some point in your life you might find yourself in relationships that seems to have dissolved into a battleground of conflict.

Or maybe you have found yourself needing to build relationships with people that you just don’t get along with.

How do you dissolve a feeling of conflict and get back to a place where you can build rapport?

Humans have a natural ability to build rapport with each other, but what happens when we become stressed, overloaded with work or inundated with technology? People can begin to lose sight of how to interact with each other. Or we reach a point where we don’t quite know how to deal with someone so we shut down and bury our heads in technical applications, telling ourselves: “it’s just easier to send an e-mail.”

With this mentality, we begin to shy away from interacting with people – other people’s raw, human energy. It is too hard, too painful, too frustrating and a heck of a lot easier not to be face to face with some people. We are missing opportunities to experience personal growth.

Rapport is not liking someone or agreeing with them. Rapport is the art of holding the willing attention of another person to facilitate communication. The question is, how can you build rapport with someone you don’t like?

When there is no rapport, you feel conflict.

Have you ever had that experience when you feel a twinge of irk while talking with someone? They just seem to hit all your buttons and you feel your temperature rising as they talk. You begin to feel frustrated or even angry toward the person. You might feel that if you never had to deal with them again it would be a good thing or if you could just oust them, the rest of your days would be lived out in peace.

Have you also noticed that when the person that that you don’t get on with moves away from your place of work or your life, another person that causes these same negative feelings within you takes their place? Yep! Another one takes their place! It can sometimes feel as though people are being sent just to bother and frustrate you!

We could spend our whole life wrestling with people we don’t get on with, but to what avail?

We can’t get on with absolutely everyone we meet can we? If there is someone we don’t get along with in a social setting, we can choose to walk away and have no further contact with them. But what if it is someone you work with, or a family member that brings on this nagging feeling, and you know that you have to see them every day?

You just know you are going to continue feeling the same way toward this person. You live in hope that the other person will discover the error in their ways and change their behaviour. Your friends / colleagues tell you to “be the bigger person.” But what does this mean, and why it is always you that has to change.

When there is no rapport, you feel conflict.

Let’s turn this statement around.

When you feel conflict, there is no rapport.

When you get that irritating “vibe” from someone, a feeling of frustration and you just can’t stand the thought of communicating with them, take this is as a signal that rapport is needed right now if you are to have any kind of relationship with this person.

The good news is, you already know how to build rapport. Think of your friends, family and colleagues that you have great relationships with. You communicate freely. You are in rapport with them.

Building rapport is something that humans actually do naturally such as,

  • Mirroring and mimicking body language
  • Matching tone, pitch and pace
  • Listening and acknowledging throughout conversations
  • Finding common ground

If you are seeking more in depth ways to build rapport, there is a lot of information that can be found online and many courses that you can attend to learn the art of rapport building in detail. Enter “how to build rapport” into your search engine. You will be amazed at how much information is out there.

Why though, when it comes to having a conversation with a person you don’t particularly like, do your rapport building skills seem to suddenly fly out the window?

As that person approaches you, your brain switches gear and your internal dialogue kicks into overdrive. You can hear your heart pounding in your chest as your inner voice starts to throw out negative one liners:

“Here we go again….”

“What are they going to say this time?”

“Gee I wish they would go away and leave me alone.”

“Why can’t they just listen to me and hear what I have to say?’

“I can’t stand the way they operate.”

As your internal dialogue takes a hold of your brain with such negative one liners, your subconscious mind takes this information and reflects your thoughts through your body language.

You may find that when this person is coming toward you that your heart rate may increase; you may feel queasy; you might feel yourself becoming fidgety or you may appear distracted; you might go dry in the mouth or experience a wave of heat wash over you. Your body becomes tense and ridged, or your pitch becomes higher when you talk or your speech pace becomes faster, you might become jittery or even display signs of nervousness.

When your internal dialogue is negative and reflected in your body language, other people are picking up on your negative vibe. This strongly influences how they interact with you.

You need to reclaim your brain and your internal dialogue, so you can climb back to that place where you can build rapport again.

Many years ago I had to work with a particular person to ensure that the business was meeting its objectives. For months, our communication was ineffective. I could not stand the way they spoke, how they treated other people or even how they behaved. Every time we had to meet, a feeling of dread would consume me. I was so challenged with how to relate to this person, there was no way I thought I could ever build rapport. I became really frustrated, hurt and angry and talked with everyone I could about how to manage this person. One of my colleagues looked me in the face and said, “Get over it. There will always be people like this in business and you will have to learn to deal with it.”

Great. Get over it. Deal with it. But how??? What am I meant to do in this situation?

I knew I needed to find some common ground with this person (if we were ever going to be effective in business together) so, I spent a great deal of time working through and analysing the conflict and lack of rapport. The actions I proceeded to take changed my relationship with this person forever and we went on to be really dynamic together in business.

I took control of my thoughts and changed my internal dialogue to something less negative.

How can you reclaim your brain to experience better communication and rapport with that person when you just don’t like them?

Get curious!

Here are some of the best actions that I took in my quest to have rapport with this person.

  • I wanted to have a better relationship with this person and stop feeling so uncomfortable and frustrated around them.

My internal dialogue started to get curious:

  • How would this person behave at home?
  • What kind of upbringing might this person have had?
  • How might they interact with their family, and what do their family think of them?
  • How are they feeling today? What has their day been like so far?

When this person approached me, I would look at them from a short distance and wondered:

  • What they might have had for breakfast.
  • What they might have done last night.
  • What inspired their clothing choice today?
  • What their favourite food was.

My thoughts were always about them personally. My thoughts were always curious and never asked out loud.

Initially, as I started doing this, I internalised some pretty sarcastic responses to my pondering thoughts. But, the more I practiced the new thought pattern, the more curious I became.

Within a week of starting this journey of curiosity with this person, our relationship changed. They began to engage me in discussions. Our conversations became more effective.

Shifting the feeling of frustration to one of curiosity, also stopped the negative internal dialogue I had been experiencing when this person was around. I found that I now had more mental space that allowed me to consciously build rapport with this person. The best part was, I no longer felt frustrated or angry toward this person. I felt good about meeting with them. I felt lighter, more engaged and a lot more aware of our communication. Together we became extremely productive together in business.


What causes a positive change to communication and rapport?

  • You remove the conflict that is in your mind.
  • By focusing your attention on the person that you have conflict with and getting curious about their life, your internal dialogue changes.
  • As your internal dialogue changes, your subconscious mind shifts your body language into one of curiosity rather than frustration.
  • You have shifted your focus from your own feelings and are now curious about the other person.
  • Your body language shifts to one of curiosity, which is more engaging to others than a sense of frustration.
  • No longer using negative internal dialogue, you have freed up space in your mind to be able to build rapport naturally. You can now look at the person in the eye and smile when you greet them.
  • You become interested in them. You actually want to ask them how they are today and what they got up to on the weekend.
  • You are prepared to and want to listen to them intently. (They might just offer you some information that appeases your curiosity!)
  • You are now focused on what they are saying, their tone, pitch and pace.
  • You are now watching their body language and how they are responding to you.
  • You appear more engaging to the other person. More pen and receptive to communication.
  • At no stage did you ask the other person to change. You shifted and changed your own internal dialogue and in doing so, your body language changed and increase your confidence.
  • You are back in the zone of being able to build effective rapport.

In Summary

People interact with family members, work colleagues and strangers on a daily basis, in a myriad of different ways.

Interacting with each other face to face reminds us that we are alive and can inspire how we embrace technology.

Rapport is not liking someone or agreeing with other people.

Rapport is the art of holding the willing attention of another person to facilitate communication.

We already know how to build effective rapport, we do it naturally.

When you find yourself experiencing a feeling of conflict with someone else, stop and ask yourself:

How much rapport is there between us?

Make a conscious decision to improve your communication and improve your own feelings.

Get curious about the other person.

Turn of any negative internal dialogue that you have toward that person by filling your mind with questions relating to the person.

Allow your mind to build effective rapport with this person. You will find that you will soon have rapport together and that the conflict that once was, will dissolve.


I hope that you have found these strategies helpful.
All questions and comments on dissolving conflict and building rapport are welcome.  
You might have an effective strategy that has worked for you that you would like to share.
Please feel free to leave a comment below or you can contact me directly. 
This year, take ownership of relationships that matter to you.
Dissolve conflict and build rapport.
Wishing you much success with building effective relationships.
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Love, Light, Joy,


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