Downton Abbey launched its Final season January 3, 2016, 7.6 Million people were watching. If you were one of them (as I was) you saw a superb example of the miracle of mediation.
As Season Five ended, Mr. Carson, the butler, had finally proposed to head housekeeper Mrs. Hughes, and she’d said yes. But Season Six finds her having second thoughts. She’s not ready to set the date, and can’t bring herself to tell him why.
In a hilarious dance around the word “sex,” she confides to the cook, Mrs. Patmore. She loves Mr. Carson and wants to marry him, but she needs to know what he expects in the way of wifely duties.
Reluctantly, Mrs. Patmore agrees to carry the message to Mr. Carson. He, as everyone knows, is the soul of propriety and discretion. Dignity defines him.
He’s also her boss. This necessary conversation will be awkward, not only for the parties but also for the mediator.
- She genuinely cares about each participant and scrupulously respects their dignity.
- She is transparent about her mission, her embarrassment, and what she would share with the other.
- She remains neutral. She never tips her hand about what she thinks, even to the viewer.
- She listens nonjudgmentally and does not give advice.
- She asks clarifying and open questions.
- Both parties trust her.
- When she has elicited a clear response from Mr. Carson and delivers it to Mrs. Hughes, she withdraws and leaves the parties to work it out face to face.
I’ll try not to be a spoiler, but suffice it to say they did.
Beyond Dispute Associates
© Carolyn Parr and Beyond Dispute Associates, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carolyn Parr and Beyond Dispute Associates with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Hazel E Hanley says
Excellent analysis! Thanks for giving me a smile.
David Carlson says
Great application to Downton Abbey. Love it!