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Have a conflict? Try these simple tips to resolve the issue. If you are unable to resolve the problem yourself or if you need assistance to begin the conversation, contact:

Common Ground Mediation


Coos Phone: 541-751- 9666

Douglas Phone: 541-530-2578

Talk Directly

Speak directly to the person with whom you have the problem, as long as there is not threat of violence. Direct conversation is much more effective than sending an email, banging on the wall, throwing a rock or complaining to everyone else.

Choose a Good Time to Talk

Plan to talk to the other person at a good time for both of you and allow enough time to discuss the issue. For example, don’t begin the discussion as the other person is leaving for work, after you have had a terrible day, or right before you have to make dinner. Check in with the other person about when would be a good time for them.

Plan Ahead

Think out what you want to say before your meeting. State clearly what the problem is and how it affects you. Talk in a quiet place where you can both be comfortable and undisturbed. Use “I” statements, i.e., “I am worried that I’ll hit a pedestrian when I’m backing out of my driveway. I can’t see around the hedge on your side of the driveway.”

Show Respect

Respect means different things to different people. However, no one wants to be blamed, called names, or have voices raised at them. Upsetting the other person only makes it more difficult for them to hear you. Do not blame the other person or begin the conversation with what you think should be done.

Give Information

Do not 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.”

Show That You Are Listening

Give the other person a chance to tell his or her side of the conflict completely – without interrupting. Relax and listen; try to learn how the other person feels. 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. Try to repeat back to the person key points that you hear them make – this helps them be aware you are hearing them.

Be Aware of Underlying Issues

Be open to the idea that there may be unspoken issues you aren’t aware of or changes that you know nothing about but which impact the other deeply.

Talk It Out

Once you’ve established a mutual desire to work together, get all 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. Often the dispute is due to misunderstanding the details.

Work 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 anymore.” Then write down your agreement and what each person will do. Make a copy of the agreement for each party.


Agree to check with each other at specific times to make sure that the agreement is still working. Set times dates and a time-line for checking in before you part.

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