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The Rare Skill of Disarming

In the most explosive of situations, it is possible to defuse tension

We’ve all seen an action movie where a bomb is set to go off in seconds. Our hero frantically wipes away sweats as he or she attempts to disarm it before everything is blown into oblivion. Hands shaking while holding a pair of wire cutters, we watch them look at the big dilemma: which wire leads to victory and which one leads to destruction. Ah, the tension!

I’ve never been around a live bomb. I’m not trying to be either. But, I have been in explosive situations involving potentially destructive conversations with difficult people. The consequences were less dire – nothing has come to life or death, and no buildings were at risk. But, the stakes were still high with big ramifications. Either the situation would be diffused… or people could leave very hurt, and things could get incredibly hostile.

Have you ever known a disarmer — someone with the rare ability to walk into a potentially volatile situation and bring calm, coolness, rationality and resolve? These people are a rarity. They are a species on the verge of extinction in today’s cultural climate. While they’re hard to find, we can’t have too many of them.

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