How do I resolve conflicts?

Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Medicine

Depending on if you are a male or a female may determine how you will resolve conflict.  Hormones may play a role in  why men and women handle stress and conflict differently. Hormones, such as oxytocin, influence how one acts. Oxytocin is a muscle-contracting hormone that is released by women after birth in order to contract the uterus. It also plays a major role in stress. When women are under stress, this hormone is released and it produces a calming behavior more conducive to turning to other women for support and comfort. When men are under stress, they produce the hormones testosterone and vasopressin, which trigger the “flight-or- fight” response.


Katherine Lee
Social Work
First of all, you need to acknowledge that there’s a conflict. Once you have acknowledged it, you should try to identify the part that you are responsible for and resolve your own personal conflict with it. If you have a hard time identifying it, you should speak to someone who is more objective (such as a therapist). You can then try to resolve the conflict with the person you are having conflict with. It is best to use “I” statements (such as “I felt ___ when you ___”, focusing on the person’s behavior) when speaking with the person and try to do this in a neutral and a safe setting. It is best to have this talk with a neutral mediator (ex. therapist). You should also try to start with acknowledging the part that you’ve contributed and focus on solutions for the future. If the other person is not receptive, remind yourself that you cannot really change others and that you’ve done your best to mediate the situation. If this person continues to hurt you or cause conflicts in your life, you might want to think about setting a clear personal boundary.
This conflict resolution, of course, will not work in a setting where you are a potential victim of abuse.
Lisa Oz
Health Education

We all play a role in our conflicts. At some point, we need to take responsibility for that. Once we do, we give ourselves the power to break the pattern. When you admit that you were a participant in the ongoing argument, you will actually felt better. You will realize that you could have done something. You cannot change others, but you can change yourself. To decide where and how to change, you have to ask some more questions, such as, "What exactly was I doing that was contributing to the problem?" Try answering this question from the other person's point of view. If you were to ask this person, what would he or she say you were doing?

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.