Interpersonal conflict

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