20 Things You Can Do to Resolve Conflicts

Here are 20 quick things you can do on your own to try to resolve your disputes:

1.         Stop arguing or fighting and sit down together to talk.

2.         Take turns speaking and listening without interrupting.

3.         Summarize, clarify and acknowledge what the other person has said or feels.

4.         Say what you think the other person is saying. Ask if you are correct. If not, listen again.

5.         Avoid accusations. Say: “I feel …when you …because.

6.         Focus on the future rather than the past.

7.         Focus on problems and behaviors rather than personalities.

8.         Focus on interests rather than positions. Ask “Why do you want that?”

9.         Break the problem down into smaller parts. Focus on one, starting with the easiest.

10.       Search for creative solutions.  Brainstorm ideas.

11.       List, categorize and prioritize all possible solutions.

12.       Agree on criteria to make the agreement fair and workable.

13.       If you can’t agree, take a break and come back to it later.

14.       Write down what you want and what you are willing to do to end the dispute.

15.       Move on to other issues.

16.       Consider trade-offs and ways to “expand the pie.”

17.       Split the difference 50/50.

18.       Say what will happen if the dispute is not resolved.

19.       Write down and confirm your agreements.  Check on your progress.

20.       Ask someone you both trust to mediate or arbitrate the issues.