11 Tips for Better Conflict Resolution

Conflict is always challenging, but there are simple practices we can adopt to ease the struggle.

For National Bullying Prevention Month, we’re talking about why conflict resolution matters, and how we’re teaching kids this endangered life skill to transform them into powerful peacemakers.

No matter your age, try these 11 tips for more positive interactions and smoother resolutions at home, at school, or at work!

“Raise your thoughts, not your fists.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo

  1. Check yourself: Do you need time for your emotions to settle? Are you hungry, tired, stressed or sick? Give yourself time to cool off and treat your triggers before going into a hard conversation.
  2. Reflect: Take time to think about what you’d really like to happen. What do you want the outcome to be? How do you want the conversation to go?
  3. Go to the source. Talk to the person (or people) you’ve got a problem with directly. Don’t just talk to others about it, or about the other person.
  4. Stick to first-person. Use “I statements” to describe the conflict. “I feel like X…”
  5. Absolutely no absolutes. Avoid words like “always” and “never.” Keep it about what is happening now and how you feel about it.
  6. Really listen. What are people really saying with their words, actions and body language? Read between the lines to gather more information.
  7. Respect. Treat them as you want to be treated. Try to stay calm, kind, and choose your words wisely.
  8. Take ownership for your part. Apologize if you need to. Usually in conflicts, we all have something we could have done better. It takes great strength and bravery to admit your part.
  9. Get perspective. Investigate other points of view besides your own. Why do they feel the way they do? Why do they think that? Try to see if from their perspective.
  10. Be creative. Work together to brainstorm win-win solutions and for a positive outcome.
  11. Reflect again. End the conversation by discussing what you learned from the conflict, the conversation, and what you can each do differently or better in the future.

Sources: Camp Fire Conflict Resolution Pilot, Camp Fire, 2017. InterACTION. Camp Fire, 2014.