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How to resolve a conflict or disagreement

From time to time, you may have conflicts with your friends due to different ideas, visions, or tastes. Here are some things you can do to resolve big and small disagreements.

Talk and listen

Take the time to talk with your friend and understand his/her point of view. If it’s a minor misunderstanding, you’ll surely find a solution together. However, if it’s a major disagreement, you may have to assess how important the relationship is to you and whether you’re ready to make an effort to keep it going.

Commit yourself

Get involved in resolving the conflict. Show that you are open and interested in learning about your friend’s position, and that you want to cooperate with him/her in your search for solutions and reconciliation.

Speak using “I”

Throughout the discussion, talk about yourself and what you’re feeling using “I,” without accusing or judging the other person. Respect attracts respect. Your friend will react a lot better if you say, “I find that hard to believe,” rather than, “You’re a liar”!

Describe the problem

Right from the start, identify the situation that’s causing a problem and that you want to change, then express what you feel: “I prefer people to talk to me quietly and not shout.” Together with your friend, find out what can be changed so that your relationship remains healthy and respectful.

Name your emotions

Tell your friend what you’re feeling about the problem: anger, sadness, disappointment, etc.

Acknowledge what you did wrong

A conflict is never only one person’s fault. Admitting what you did wrong will encourage the other person to listen to you.

Assess solutions

Analyze them together. Are they realistic? Are you both satisfied with them? Which one is the best for solving the problem? Then reach an agreement and commit to respect it.

Reassess the situation

After some time has gone by, check to see if the agreement has been respected and the problem is solved. Take stock carefully. If the chosen solution didn't work, try another one.

Red alert!

Warning! If you’re scared of the other person, you feel manipulated, or you’re experiencing violence, harassment, or bullying, the situation has to stop! Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Your teachers, parents, or Tel-jeunes can help you.