Conflict Resolution

by Devon Berkheiser, Psy.D.

Children FightingConflict is an inevitable part of interpersonal relationships. We are each unique individuals with our own belief system and point of view, and it’s only natural that we will at some point have disagreements with other people. While managing conflict can be scary and overwhelming, conflict resolution skills can be learned so that you feel more confident in your ability to address conflicts in relationships. Here are some basic conflict resolution skills:

1. Arrange a time and place to discuss the problem that is convenient for all parties. You may want to wait until you are able to speak about the problem in a calm and respectful manner.

2. Define the problem as specifically as possible. Try using clear-cut examples so that the other person understands exactly what the problem is. Avoid overgeneralizations such as “you always….” Or “you never…”

3. Describe your feelings so that the other person has a good understanding of why the issue is important to you. Try to use “I” statements rather than blaming or attacking the other person. For example, say “I am annoyed and frustrated” rather than “you are inconsiderate” or “you make me angry.”

4. Be concise. Assertively express what you want in brief, easy-to-understand language.

5. Reinforce the other person to meet your needs. Let him/her know how you will both benefit by resolving the conflict.