Two orange men talking with a word bubble.

  1. Chill out. People often get defensive when we approach them with a conflict, if you are aggressive, angry or stressed they are likely to be unable to hear you out and even less likely to be motivated to give you what you want. Drink some water; go for a walk, make some notes about what it is that you really need to get out of the situation before approaching anyone.
  2. Think about the other person. Consider what the other person’s needs from the situation could be. What kind of resolution could work for both of you? Would you be willing to compromise on anything? Do they even know there is a problem?
  3. No set ups. Sending texts and emails like, “we need to talk” are a great way to get people amped up and/or anxious. Invite them to take a walk with you or bring them their favorite coffee in the morning to set up an environment of care and openness.
  4. Use ‘I’ statements. Good use of an ‘I’ statement: “I would like to explore our different needs for tidiness in our common spaces.” Poor use of ‘I’ statement: “I hate that you are such a slob!”
  5. Help the person understand what you felt and what you need.
  6. Allow the other person to be surprised, especially when they may not have been aware that you were going to bring this up. They may need a little time to process what you have just shared before they can really start to problem solve with you. Keep in mind, that if you feel defensive or upset by their reaction, you can also suggest that you table the discussion so that you have time to revisit step 1.
  7. Keep in mind that ‘your way’ may not work for everyone in the situation and you may need to be open to compromise.
7 Steps to a Healthy Resolution