No matter who you are or what is going on in your life, it is doubtful that you will get through life without some conflict at some point in time. It could be with a family member, a friend, a boss, a co-worker, whomever. But, there is no doubt, it's going to happen. But, it doesn't have to end in a disaster. Conflicts can be handled and settled in a peaceful manner.
When a conflict arises between you and someone else, the most important thing to consider in all of it is to ask both you and the other person if the issue of the conflict is open to a resolution. If it's at work, is it a policy or a procedure that can't be changed or won't be changed. Or maybe it's a value of a person that they aren't willing to change. Some situations are such that it's a take or leave it type of attitude and nothing you can do is going to resolve it. However, there more times than not that things can be resolved.
If you agree that it can be resolved then you need to figure out what your needs and wants are. Understand that you may not always get what you want but it could be open to get what you need out of the situation. Remember, wants are harder to get than needs are. Wants are more demanding than most needs, because they are limited and harder to resolve.
However, when it comes to needs, they can be considered unlimited and there are more possibilities that can be worked out easier because there are usually more options when it comes to needs. You both need to figure out what is important to each other in order to understand each others needs in the situation.
When you battle with wants you may run up against those who won't settle for what you want and it's the person who has the most power so to speak that is going to win. This is why it is better to focus in on the needs and not the wants.
It's important that when you are trying to resolve a conflict that you honestly listen to the other person. A good way of showing that you are listening is to paraphrase things they have said. This is considered active listening and they will realize that you really are listening to what they are saying and that you have an interest in how they are feeling at the time. After you paraphrase something it's important that you end it with a question like “Did I understand what you said correctly?” When you do ask a question make sure that it is open ended. In other words don't make them questions that can only be answered with a yes or a no.
Don't continue on with your conversation until you are sure that the person knows that they have been heard as well as understood. By moving on with the conversation without them feeling like they are understood is not going to help resolve your conflict.
When it comes to expressing what your needs are it's important that you are brief in your explanation and you should start off your sentence with “I need.” Make sure that the other person understands what you are trying to express and ask them if they understand where you might be coming from.
You should also do some brainstorming together so that you can together figure out what both of your needs are and how you can find a way to fulfill those needs for each of you. When you give each other the opportunity to offer ideas for each other is going to keep the conversation open. Try to be creative and even silly if you need to be, because humor can never hurt a situation that you are trying to keep calm.
Make sure that when you come to an understanding of each person's needs and solutions to fulfilling the needs, that the solutions you come up with are mutually agreed upon. If one person feels that they still are not getting what they need because they can't agree with the solution then nothing will be accomplished.
Most importantly, make sure that you thank them for being willing to sit down and try to resolve the conflict and let them know how grateful you are for their willingness to try and get along better and in a peaceful fashion.