One definition of interpersonal conflict--and there seem to be quite a few of them to choose from--follows:
An interpersonal conflict is a disagreement between two individuals and/or groups involving significant resentment and discontent.
The operative words here are "resentment" and "discontent." Without those, there would not be conflict--only a simple difference of opinion. It's when people stake claims to differing opinions that resentment and discontent can take over. So, in order to resolve interpersonal conflict, it is critically important to find a way to significantly reduce--or better, to eliminate entirely--the element of resentment and discontent surrounding an issue, and one approach to that is to examine the interests--as opposed to the positions--that are represented in those opinions. (See the section on Positions vs. Interests on the Mediation page)
There are many ways to reduce or eliminate resentment, discontent, and, yes, conflict, so long as the persons experiencing these things are willing to do the hard work that it takes to recognize the problem and how it came about, and then to devise and implement a plan for dealing with it. Hood's Ombudsperson is available to help you with that.
Stages in conflict resolution
- Acceptable: Peaceful coexistence
- Good: Forgiveness
- Better: Reconciliation
- Best: Restoration
Resources on interpersonal conflict
- Conflict Management Strategies for Your Tool Kit
This 32-frame PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Buddy Coleman, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, outlines some tips and strategies for dealing with interpersonal conflict.
- Key Principles for Resolving Interpersonal Conflict
This is a PowerPoint by Mark Umbreit. Though it only contains 13 frames, it suggests the mindset that is necessary for successful conflict resolution.
- Tips for Interpersonal Conflict from Wright State University
- Resolving Interpersonal Conflicts: Building Better Relationships
Two and a half pages from Roosevelt University provide essential tips for resolving conflict.
- Managing Interpersonal Conflict
By William A. Donohue (e-book)
- Anger and Conflict Management: Personal Handbook
By Gerry Dunn (e-book)