Wherever there are people, sooner or later there is conflict. But conflict - in the home, at school and even in the streets - does not have to be solved by fighting.

There are better ways to deal with the problem. Here are nine suggestions for dealing with disagreements:

  1. Don't fight.
  2. Don't try to be (or expect anyone else to be) a “mind reader”
  3. Be a good listener
  4. Avoid “tit-for-tat” exchanges and yelling matches.
  5. Don't get personal - be respectful and fair. Treat others as you wan to be treated.
  6. Look at the problem from another point of view.
  7. Look for a new approach - a way everyone can get what they want.
  8. Balance criticism with understanding.
  9. Aim for solutions that make everyone feel like a winner.

The next time you have a serious disagreement in you life, try the suggestions mentioned before. If there are young people in your life, remember that children learn by your example. If you cannot resolve a dispute yourselves, but you do not want to go to court, consider mediation or arbitration. This option is discussed in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

This information was prepared to give you some general information on the law. It is not intended as legal advice about any particular problem. If you have questions about the law you should consult a lawyer. If you do not know a lawyer, you can call the South Carolina Bar Lawyer Referral Service weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The number is 799-7100.