Spiritual values such as compassion, charity, tolerance, empathy, altruism in a spirit of universal brother/sisterhood are so helpful in establishing peace and harmony in relationships. However, certain modern practical methods and psychological tools can provide useful assistance in dealings with the complex situations that arise in the busy, chaotic modern world. The following is an informal piece, of unknown origin found on various web sites, that stands out for its simple, solid, common sense advice. Thanks to wittcom.com and , B.A Conflict Resolution & Higher Education, University of Nairobi (2016).
1. Agree on a mutually acceptable time and place to discuss the conflict.
2. State the problem as you see it and list your concerns.
- Make “I” statements.
- Withhold judgments, accusations, and absolute statements (“always” or “never”).
3. Let the other person have his/her say.
- Do not interrupt or contradict.
- Do not allow name-calling, put-downs, threats, obscenities, yelling, or intimidating behavior.
4. Listen and ask questions.
- Ask fact-based questions (who? what? where? when? how?) to make sure you understand the situation.
- Ask exploratory questions (what if? what are you saying? is this the only solution to our problem? what if we did such and such? are there other alternatives to this situation?).
- Avoid accusatory “why” questions (why are you like that?).
- Use your own words to restate what you think the other person means and wants.
- Acknowledge the person’s feelings and perceptions.
5. Stick to one conflict at a time — to the issue at hand.
- Do not change the subject or allow it to
“I understand your concern, but I’d like to finish what we’re talking about before we discuss it.”
6. Seek common ground.
- What do you agree on?
- What are your shared concerns?
7. Brainstorm solutions to the conflict that allow everyone to win.
8. Request behavior changes only.
- Don’t ask others to change their attitudes.
- Don’t ask them to “feel” differently about something.
- Don’t ask them to “be” different.
- If you want them to “stop doing” something, suggest an alternative action.
9. Agree to the best way to resolve the conflict and to a timetable for implementing it.
- Who will do what by when?
10. If the discussion breaks down, reschedule another time to meet. Consider bringing in a third party.