Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict (such as war) and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or heterogeneous (relatively foreign or distinct) groups. Throughout history leaders have used peacemaking and diplomacy to establish a certain type of behavioral restraint that has resulted in the establishment of regional peace or economic growth through various forms of agreements or peace treaties. Such behavioral restraint has often resulted in the reduction of conflicts, greater economic interactivity, and consequently substantial prosperity. The avoidance of war or violent hostility can be the result of thoughtful active listening and communication that enables greater genuine mutual understanding and therefore compromise. Leaders often benefit tremendously from the prestige of peace talks and treaties that can result in substantially enhanced popularity.
“Psychological peace” (such as a peaceful thinking and emotions) is perhaps less well defined yet often a necessary precursor to establishing "behavioral peace." Peaceful behavior sometimes results from a "peaceful inner disposition." Some have expressed the belief that peace can be initiated with a certain quality of inner tranquility that does not depend upon the uncertainties of daily life for its existence. The acquisition of such a "peaceful internal disposition" for oneself and others can contribute to resolving of otherwise seemingly irreconcilable competing interests.
Because psychological peace can be important to Behavioral peace, leaders sometimes de-escalate conflicts through compliments and generosity. Small gestures of rhetorical and actual generosity have been shown in psychological research to often result in larger levels of reciprocal generosity (and even virtuous circles of generosity). Such benevolent selfless behavior can eventually become a pattern that may become a lasting basis for improved relations between individuals and groups of people. Peace talks often start without preconditions and preconceived notions, because they are more than just negotiating opportunities. They place attention on peace itself over and above what may have been previously perceived as the competing needs or interests of separate individuals or parties to elicit peaceful feelings and therefore produce benevolent behavioral results. Peace talks are sometimes also uniquely important learning opportunities for the individuals or parties involved.