In most mediations I hear one of the parties say something like, “He won’t like that idea.”, or “She won’t agree to that. She just wants to get her own way all the time.”.
People often think they know what others are thinking and how they will react to certain stimuli, but this way of thinking isn’t always right. It is based on observing the way the other person reacts within a conflict situation and then interpreting those actions in a way that serves our purpose. However, a person’s reaction in a stressful situation is not always the way she or he would react in a calmer environment.
The longer a conflict continues, the more we are inclined to think we know what that other person will or won’t do or say and the more we attribute all sorts of negative characteristics to that person. We make assumptions.
But by the time the conflict has escalated to the point where mediation is needed, both parties are most likely just tired of the whole conflict situation and want a resolution. Collaboration is the key in working with your mediator towards a creative resolution.
We need to approach this with an open mind. It’s good to leave assumptions behind when going to mediation.