On a Thursday Nov 8, Gerina Davis, the Youth and Community Clinician of Neighbors in Action, led a workshop on communication styles with a youth group from Youth Bridge. The conversation started with the question of whether conflict is a good or bad thing and what made it so. Collectively, they created the working definition of conflict that they would use throughout the workshop. The group defined conflict as “Tension between two or more people with a different view or understanding.”

Ms. G then led the group through an exploration of the various ways one can communicate and what may be most or least effective. These included passive, passive- aggressive, aggressive and assertive. Through discussion, the group uncovered that sometimes assertiveness takes a level of vulnerability when expressing how one feels and thinks in a situation. They also shared that we all sometimes use the other less effective forms of communication because they seem easier in the short term. However, the group ultimately came to the conclusion that these methods resulted in people not really saying what they meant and therefore not being understood by others.

The workshop also examined the role of mediator and what it looks like to mediate one’s own elf in moments of conflict. The conversation then transitioned into how our thoughts can impact the way we interact with other people. This portion of the workshop was called, “What’s the TEA?” the youth identified the colloquial meaning of tea as gossip, perspective and information and with that understanding Ms. Davis offered that our thoughts create tea and that tea is also an acronym for Thinking, Emotions, and Actions. This means that one’s thinking about a situation impacts how they feel about it which then informs the way one responds. To assist the understanding of the TEA concept and the role of mediator, participants took part in a role play followed by discussion after each scenario. Then they played a game called FREEZE where the audience could jump in the scene to freeze it and to then turn the tide of the skit to come to a resolution.

Ms. G then led a discussion on strategies as a mediator between others, including how to deal with being in the middle of a tense situation without taking sides and the importance of validating the feelings of those that are unable to see past their personal agenda. After the workshop, YouthBridge shared that they found the workshop engaging, relevant, and fun!