Ask To Disengage

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Ask To Disengage is a step in Conflict Resolution for situations that are becoming heated or uncomfortable. Say you wish to end the interaction with someone either by removing yourself from the situation and leaving or by asking them to do so in the interest of avoiding escalation.

Things to try before asking to disengage

Getting along has a list of steps to take before and after the point where you might request an Ask To Disengage, such as:

  • Excellence is a goal to strive for and encouraging each other to be excellent helps avoid conflicts.
  • Restorative Communication: Communicating observations, feelings, needs, offers and requests can lead to mutual understandings.
  • Don't ask other people to disengage just because people disagree about something unless it is escalating and seems necessary to keep things from getting out of hand.

Backing someone up who asks to disengage

If you hear someone ask someone else to disengage, you can play a helpful role as a relatively neutral intermediary by backing up the person asking and enocuraging the person asked to cooperate.

  • Tell both parties that you think it is a good idea for them to disengage from each other right now.
  • Remind the person asked that cooperating with an Ask To Disengage request shows excellence, respect for the other person's feelings, and preserves the peacefulness of community space.
  • Offer to take the person aside and speak to them about their feelings about the situation as they may be feeling confused or upset at being asked. Being a good listener may diffuse a lot of their agitation.

Cooperating and disengaging is excellent

If you are asked, cooperate! Get some space and show respect for everyone.

Things to try if Ask To Disengage is refused

Sometimes people refuse to disengage. People can feel attacked and get stubborn and want to prove that they are "right" by continuing to argue. If somoene refuses to disengage, you can:

  • Leave the situation yourself to de-escalate. It takes maturity to be the one to walk away.
  • AskedToLeave: Ask the person to leave if they are escalating conflict, refusing to disengage, and making you or others feel unsafe.
  • Mediation: Request a mediator.