Resolving Conflict in Everyday Relationships


  • Introduction
    Think resolving conflict is impossible? Think again. We know a great deal about how to resolve conflict. The problem is that this knowledge is held primarily by professionals. But you can learn it too.
  • Step 1: Honoring Your Opponent's Humanity
    The first step to managing conflict is to honor your opponent's humanity. This means seeing that your opponent is a person with wants, needs, and feelings -- just like you.
  • Step 2: Identify Each Other's Needs
    This step is the key to the whole process. To manage conflict, look past blame and criticism. Identify your opponent's needs, wants and feelings.
  • Speaking and Listening
    The most important skills for collaborative problem-solving are those that are used throughout the process. These include Empathic Listening and Self-Assertion.
  • The Importance of Emotion -- Yours and Theirs
    People think managing conflict is about convincing the other person. It's not. It's primarily about emotions -- not rational thought.
  • Brainstorming (Step 3) and Inventing Solutions (Step 4)
    Once you have identified and acknowledged each others needs and feelings, the hard part is over. Often, you will be surprised at how quickly it can be to solve the problem.
  • The Role of Power in Conflict Management
    Until this point, we have stressed the importance of cultivating compassion, empathy and care for the other. But that's only part of what is necessary. Managing conflict requires that we assert our own interests. This raises the issue of power.
  • Bridging Political Divides
    Collaborative problem-solving is often effective when trying to resolve difficult social and political problems. Here is an introduction to how this can be done.

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