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Don’t Get Revenge: Conflict Resolution Skills
By Nathan Carpenter

Conflict resolution encompasses a variety of methods and processes that involve facilitation of a peaceful ending among two parties with differing opinions in a social conflict. Conflict resolution strategies may involve attempting to resolve disputes between two parties by actively communicating about their different opinions to an unbiased person or group. Both conflicting parties should state their intentions and reasons for holding their beliefs and then engage the third party into the negotiation, mediation, diplomatic, or peace building process. Legal bodies may refer to this as dispute resolution, where civil litigation cases are involved. Conflict resolution strategies often consist of nonviolent resistance measures between two parties to develop an effective, peaceful win/win outcome.

Conflict resolution involves two underlying themes, including assertiveness and empathy. Assertiveness implies that the individual states his or her concern for self. Empathy implies that the individual states a legitimate concern for others. Disputing parties can balance their concern for satisfying their personal needs and interest for others by applying strategies that satisfy both parties in various ways. This may lead to a differentiation of conflict resolution styles between both parties, which may include avoidance, yielding, competitive, cooperative, and conciliation.

Parties who exhibit avoidance may be characterized by inaction and passivity, an ineffective strategy for high-conflict situations. Parties who yield during conflict are characterized by a high concern for others, while neglecting to take care of one’s own self. Competitive parties escalate conflict by maximizing their assertiveness, instead of considering the opposing side’s point of view. Competitive parties seek domination over others, and aim to intimidate their opponents. Parties who tend to cooperate with their opponents have an invested self-interest, while considering a positive outcome for their opponent. This often involves a collaboration to find a resolution between conflicting parties. Compromising parties work together in tandem to find a level of fairness. Compromisers exhibit an effective conflict resolution style that may lead to a peaceful outcome.

Conflict management and prevention involves long-term intervention between two opposing parties that may not ever find a permanent resolution. Conflict management refers to a number of ways that people handle grievances, or a behavioral means to standing up against what they consider right or wrong. This phenomena may arise in a variety of forms, including malicious gossip, ridicule, terrorism, lynching, feuding, genocide, political law, mediation, negotiation, warfare, and avoidance. The manifestation of these behaviors may be determined according to the environment that the conflict arose. In the case of political conflict, countries have adapted military and law policy to prevent a violent escalation, a term commonly referred to as diplomacy.

To learn more about conflict resolution skills:

Conflict Resolution Skills: Building the Skills That Can Turn Conflicts into Opportunities: A trusted guide that provides tips on building the necessary skills that can turn destructive conflicts into promising opportunities by utilizing essential people skills.

Conflict Resolution Skills (PDF): An educational source that shares the core principles of resolving conflict in a favorable manner.

Conflict Resolution: Where Does Conflict Begin?: The six points to sound conflict resolution include finding a balance between two parties’ goals, values, tasks, resources, rules, and communication.

Out on a Limb: A Guide to Getting Along: An interactive guide that demonstrates how people with differing viewpoints can find a resolution to existing conflicts.

Local and State

Community Mediation Maryland (CMM)

Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO)

Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) - Maryland Chapter

Choose Civility
Choose Civility is an ongoing community-wide initiative, led by Howard County Library System, to position Howard County as a model of civility. The project intends to enhance respect, empathy, consideration and tolerance in Howard County.

Howard County Library

Specific recommended reading lists for children, teens, and adults related to and geared toward Choosing Civility


National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM)

Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR)

Restorative Justice

Circle of Restorative Initiatives for Maryland (CRI)

Community Conferencing Center of Baltimore City (CCC)

Eastern Mennonite University (EMU)
Summer Peacebuilding Institute 2013

International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP)

Victim Offender Mediation Association (VOMA)