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A Case Study in Conflict Resolution

            Conflicts are a daily occurrence in life; people tend to disagree almost all the time. However, rarely do this disagreements spiral out of control. Most of these disagreements can be easily overlooked by those involved without creating a scene. Nonetheless, occasionally disagreements can become fully blown conflicts causing lawsuits and even bitter fighting. These kinds of conflicts can be exceptionally challenging to resolve. On the other hand, minor conflicts are simpler to manage and sometimes aggrieved parties can continue interacting while the minor conflict simmers in the background. A while back, we had a situation in our hostel that on the surface was incredibly minor, but the resultant dispute it created was not so minor.

John and Kevin are roommates. In the past one week, John’s friend has been coming over and staying the whole night. This is causing problems to Kevin who has not been able to enjoy a good night’s sleep and has even failed an exam recently. Therefore, Kevin decides to confront John over this, asking him angrily if his friend must stay over every night. John feels offended, and he grabs Kevin by the shoulder resulting in to a fight. As a friend, I calm them down and immediately I set myself into understanding what the underlying problem is.

First, I make sure to clearly understand each party’s interest. I ask John why must his friend come over every night, and he tells me he needs someone with whom he can play video games as Kevin is not much of an enthusiasts. Then I ask Kevin what exactly his problem is with John playing video games with his friend, he says they make too much noise, and he can barely sleep. From the above responses, it becomes clear to me that Kevin is truly offended and that he has a right to a good night sleep. I therefore, consider his concerns and talks to John to appreciate the fact that Kevin has a genuine concern that he should listen to. At the same time, John has every right to be with his friend in the room. Therefore, after each party acknowledges the other’s concern, it becomes easier to address each party’s concern via consensus. In this case, I make Kevin and John to come up with a schedule that benefits each one of them.

I managed to resolve this conflict by isolating real interests from emotions. By creating a scenario whereby each party’s interest is kept, I created a workable and agreeable solution.