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Make Peace, Not War: Five Ways To Resolve Any Conflict

Jul 22, 2022
Confict Resolution, Relationships and Couples

Make Peace, Not War: Five Ways To Resolve Any Conflict Curious about the best skills for resolving conflict? Read these conflict resolution tips from NYC's best relationship therapists.

Difference of opinions, habits or behaviors can sometimes lead to disagreements. These conflicts are an inevitable part of life — after all, there will always be situations and circumstances when even the closest friends and family members won’t see eye to eye on certain matters.

The worst-case scenario is when a dispute is allowed to simmer, grow deeper, and cause a rift between friends or relatives. 

Have you ever found yourself in this unenviable situation, or perhaps you are experiencing it now?

Even if the possibility of mending fences seems remote, don’t give up before trying — especially if the person you are feuding with is important to you. 

In more ways than one, resolving conflicts is like negotiating a peace truce — both parties must be willing to accept the terms of the “ceasefire” and move on.

But before you even begin to “negotiate” with each other, both (or all) parties should lay down some ground rules: 

·      Let go of hostility, bitterness and resentment — be open to communicate about what happened without criticism or accusations.

·      Agree to disagree – accept that your perspectives may be different, but not wrong.

·      Let by-gones be by-gones — look forward, not back.

Once these obstacles are out of the way, start talking. If you don’t feel comfortable yet being face-to-face with the other person, speak on the phone or by email. Any communication is better than none.

Think about what caused the rift in the first place. Once you analyze the issue calmly and objectively, without letting your emotions get in the way, you may both realize that the conflict was driven by a misunderstanding, mis-communication, or perhaps the interference of others in your relationship.  


Don’t attach blame. It doesn’t matter who the guilty party is — you want to resolve the dispute, not exacerbate it.  For the same reason, abstain from using accusatory words like "you never" or "you always." It doesn’t matter at this point who said what. What matters is finding the way out and forward.

If apologies are needed, give them. You know the saying: “Sorry is the hardest word.” But a heartfelt apology — given or received — can go a long way toward healing.

Things that bind you. Whether it is your spouse, a friend, or someone else who is dear to you, talk about how much you appreciate each other’s company. This acknowledgement will take the focus away from the conflict, and emphasize the positive and meaningful influence you have on each other’s lives.

Strengthen your relationship. Conflicts and disagreements may find their way into your lives again. If that happens, resolve to “talk it out” right away and try to defuse a dispute before it drives a wedge between you again.

Clearly, the worst thing you can do is let a conflict fester and become so deep that no amount of “negotiations” will make it right again. 

The key is to act swiftly and sincerely, so relationships you hold dear can “bounce back” and prosper.