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1. Choose a Good Time and Plan Ahead

Plan to talk to the other person at the right time and allow yourselves enough time for a thorough discussion. Don't start talking about the conflict just as the other person is leaving for work, after you have had a terrible day, or right before you have to make dinner. Try to talk in a quiet place where you can both be comfortable and undisturbed for as long as the discussion lasts. Think about what you want to say ahead of time. State clearly what the problem is and how it affects you.



2. Talk Directly

Assuming that there is no threat of physical violence, talk directly to the person with whom you have the problem. Direct conversation is more effective than sending a letter, banging on the wall, throwing a rock or complaining to everyone else.



3. Don't Blame or Call Names

Antagonizing the other person only makes it harder for him or her to hear you. Don't blame the other person for everything or begin the conversation with your opinion of what should be done.



4. Give Information

Don't interpret the other person's behavior: "You are blocking my driveway on purpose just to make me mad!" Instead, give information about your own feelings: "When your car blocks my driveway, I get angry because I can't get to work on time."



5. Listen and Show It

Give the other person a chance to tell his or her side of the conflict completely. Relax and listen. Try to learn how the other person feels. And although you may not agree with what is being said, tell the other person that you hear him or her and are glad that you are discussing the problem together.



6. Talk It All Through

Once you start, get all of the issues and feelings out into the open. Don't leave out the part that seems too "difficult to discuss" or too "insignificant" to be important. Your solution will work best if all issues are discussed thoroughly.



7. Work on a Solution and Follow Through

When you have reached this point in the discussion, start working on a solution. Two or more people cooperating are much more effective than one person telling another to change. Be specific: "I will turn my music off at midnight," is better than a vague, "I won't play loud music again." After you've worked out a solution, follow through. Agree to check with each other at specfic times to make sure that the agreement is still working. Keep at it!