10 Ways to Resolve Conflict

 Hispanics at outdoor garden party at country home

Thomas Jackson/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Whether you’re involved in or mediating a disagreement among friends, relatives, co-workers or clients, employ an assortment of practical tactics to negotiate an end to the argument. Choose a method of conflict resolution that best suits the nature of the argument and the mood of the parties involved to devise a satisfactory solution.

Talk Face to Face

Avoid additional misunderstandings by discussing the situation in person. The University of Colorado at Boulder website notes that trying to hash out a disagreement via email, letters and phone calls can increase miscommunication. Email, for example, does not let the other party see facial expressions that convey sympathy or understanding.

Seek Privacy

Instead of discussing the situation in a place that might attract additional drama, the Management Help website suggests hashing your differences out in private. Comments from co-workers or friends who aren’t actually involved in the disagreement can escalate negative feelings.

Express Emotion

Give both sides time to express feelings calmly. If you’re too emotional to speak clearly, write down two or three key points for your combatant to read in an attempt to help her understand your point of view.

Admit It

Force yourself to find just one point in the other side’s argument that you agree with. The acknowledgement may be enough to start an open and less hostile dialogue.

Find a Common Goal

Follow a suggestion from the Ohio State University website and resolve differences by getting both sides to work for the same end result. If you’re arguing over a way to complete a task, for example, scrap both ideas and work together to devise a third solution.


Take the high road and let go of something you want to help resolve the conflict. Realize that you may need to abandon your original plan or desires just to reach a peaceful resolution.

Take a Break

If tensions are too high to discuss the conflict rationally, agree to walk away and meet later to continue the talk. Time away will allow you to formulate your arguments more clearly and rationally.

Inject Humor

Defuse a tense situation with a joke or a humorous anecdote that may allow the other party to understand your side of the disagreement. Avoid jokes that might offend or belittle your opponent, and be prepared for your attempt at humor to fall flat.

Agree to Disagree

When neither side will budge, negotiate a solution that allows you to agree that neither side “won,” and put the issue aside. If you’re unable to forgive and forget as the days pass, you may need to revisit the issue to prevent additional damage to your relationship.

Ask for Help

The University of Washington website notes that if a conflict is escalating into bullying, verbal abuse or violence, ask for assistance from an outside source. Seek the help of a school counselor, teacher, boss or the police if you think you’re in danger.