How To Resolve A Conflict

Resolving A Conflict

Consider a common scenario: Two roommates clash over plans for the weekend. One wants the apartment for a get-together with friends, while the other has already made plans to host an out-of-town guest. This is a classic case where a small misunderstanding could escalate into a major conflict, primarily due to a lack of clear communication.

In this situation, the roommate with the visiting friend hasn’t expressed their frustration. They might make a light-hearted comment or decide to vent over drinks with a friend instead of addressing the issue directly. This avoidance might seem like a temporary fix, but it only sets the stage for a larger conflict down the line. Awkward as it may be, addressing the issue head-on is essential.

Such everyday scenarios highlight the importance of learning how to resolve conflict. It’s about facing the problem, even when it’s uncomfortable, to prevent a small misunderstanding from snowballing into a major dispute.

1. Take a Breath

Cool down, it’s going to be okay. First and foremost, take a breath and just chill out. Arguing is stressful and you won’t be able to think properly when you’re in rage mode. So, try to get yourself to calm down and think rationally.

2. Try to See the Problem in a Bird’s Eye View

This isn’t going to be easy, especially when you’re mad. Try to look at the situation objectively. You may not have thought you did anything wrong, but how would you feel if it happened to you?

3. Sit Down With the Person *When You Both Cooled Off*

Do not sit down with the person when you both look like you’re going to stab each other. We know problems should be solved sooner than later, but it’s okay to give a couple hours or even a couple days in between when you had your fight and when you sit down to talk

4. Describe the Problem in the Least Amount of Words

No one wants to hear a monologue of what happened, it’s dull. Keep your problem concise and to the point. If your partner came home drunk last night, say, “It bothers me when you come home late at night drunk.” There, you said the problem, you said how it makes you feel. Now, they have to respond.

5. Let the Other Person Reply

We know you’re angry but you won’t be able to resolve this unless you let the other person speak. So, when done giving your speech, let them reply. But this part is important, don’t just let them reply for the sake of it. Actually, listen to what they say back to you.

6. Don’t Forget Nonverbal Communication

You may not notice it but when you stand at the door with your hand on your hip, listening to this person talk—you look like an asshole. Your body language is extremely important during conflict resolution.

Of course, you don’t want to be curled up, giving off that victim vibe, but you don’t want to look defensive. Try to maintain a natural and neutral posture without making facial expressions such as eye rolling.

7. Don’t Try to “Poke” the Person

We all know what makes someone we love really pissed off, but that’s not the ideal step in knowing how to resolve conflict with someone you care about.

But, that doesn’t solve anything. You’re not trying to get the upper hand by putting them down, you’re trying to solve the problem. Leave your punches for a boxing class.

8. Ask Questions and Get Answers

If you want to understand where this person is coming from, ask questions. Of course, don’t ask questions that carry this accusatory vibe. Ask simple questions such as who, what, when, where, how. See, it’s easy. That way, you get to see the complete story from their side. Notice that we didn’t tell you to ask why? Because ‘why’ usually is an accusatory question. You’re trying to resolve the conflict not start another one.

9. If You Have Many Issues, Focus on One at a Time

Maybe you guys had a blow up after a pile of issues were thrown on top of each other. Which is exactly what happens when you don’t communicate properly. Are you now seeing the importance of communication?

So, instead of yelling at each other and pointing out all the things they did wrong, focus on one issue. Do not bring up the other issues until you solved the one you’re currently talking about.

10. Own Up to the Things That You Messed Up

You probably could have handled some part of the situation a lot better. Maybe you stormed off when you didn’t get your way, and of course, that created a scene. You have to own up to the things that you acted poorly on. And there are things that you did, remember that. Don’t play the victim.

11. Do You Both Agree on Certain Things?

At the end of the discussion, there are probably certain aspects of the situation that you two both agree on—which is great. This means there are parts of the situation that you both understand and agree on. Use those as the connecting factor between you two.

12. Make Room for Compromise

We know you probably want the whole situation to go your way but I’m sorry to tell you that it probably won’t—unless they’re really in the wrong. But most likely, you’re going to need to compromise.

Does your boyfriend need the car tomorrow? We know you have to go visit your family but maybe he can drop you off instead. Is this an ideal situation for you, probably not, but you have to compromise.

13. Try to Make a Plan Together to Fix the Problem

So, you talked about how you feel, they talked about how they feel. If you want to know how to resolve conflict, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to solve the problem.

Is there something that you need to do? Maybe you’re tired of always being the one to clean the house, but when you tell them to do it, you go ahead and clean anyway. Instead, stick to your word. There’s always a solution to a conflict.

14. Don’t Use Passive Behavior

Sometimes, we can’t help but be passive aggressive. We slam our doors, we reply to that person like an asshole. Of course, those do not do the situation any good. But really, passive people don’t actually solve any problems, they just add more fuel to the fire.

So, work on communicating in a direct way. Let this person know how you feel by saying, “I feel” not “you’re a dumbass.”

15. Use “I” Statements

Speaking of, when expressing how you feel or what you need, use “I” statements. For example, “I feel frustrated when…” instead of “You make me frustrated…” Doing this reduces defensiveness and keeps the conversation centered on feelings and needs rather than blame.

16. Reflect on the Impact

After discussing the problem, take a moment to reflect on how the conflict has impacted both of you. This isn’t about pointing fingers but understanding the consequences of the disagreement. By acknowledging the impact, you open a pathway for empathy and deeper understanding.

17. Identify Common Goals

Amidst the conflict, it’s easy to lose sight of what you both ultimately want. Identifying common goals can be a unifying step. It shifts the focus from opposing positions to shared objectives, paving the way for collaborative problem-solving.

18. Establish Boundaries

Clearly define what behaviors or actions are unacceptable to you. Establishing boundaries is crucial for mutual respect and understanding. It’s about knowing where you draw the line and communicating it effectively, which can prevent future conflicts.

19. Follow-Up and Check-In

Resolving conflict doesn’t end with the conversation. Schedule a time to check in with each other to see how things are progressing. This follow-up demonstrates commitment to the resolution and ensures that any agreed-upon changes or solutions are being implemented.

20. Move On

Listen, you might have more conflicts in the future, maybe not with this person, but it’ll be with someone else. You must learn to let things go.

You sat down with this person, you talked about your feelings, you guys even came to an agreement. Now what? There’s nothing to hold a grudge against, you solved the problem. It’s over, move forward

About the Author

A prolific love author who specializes in creating love stories often focused on the romantic connections between people which readers can identify with.