relationships tips

7 Tips for Resolving Conflicts Quickly and Peacefully

Everyone has to deal with difficult people, whether they are argumentative, abusive, stubborn, or combative. The question is, how can you assert your own rights without creating an unnecessary incident?

In most cases, angry people are screaming to be heard. They want to be valued, loved, and listened to. They want to feel important but aren’t able to express themselves constructively. With the right attitude, it’s possible to get past these insecurities and reach an understanding.

These 7 strategies will help you setting disputes quickly and peacefully for the benefit of everyone involved:

1. Remain calm. Be still and say nothing. Let the storm run its course. Often times the angry person wants to provoke you. Arguing is ineffective because it raises barriers. Consider how I handled the barber situation.

2. Let the other person do the talking. He or she will soon grow tired of it. Sometimes that’s all they want. To be heard. To feel important. Everyone wants to feel important. Some people just express it in ways that are counterproductive.

3. Genuinely consider the other person’s point of view. Imagine yourself in his shoes. Never say “you’re wrong.” In fact, try hard to look for areas of agreement and build on them.

4. There’s power in the words “Yes, yes, I see exactly what you’re saying. You mean…….” This shows the other person you hear him/her. That’s all they usually want — to be validated. By agreeing with them, you gradually break down the other person’s anger.

5. If the situation turns verbally abusive, put a stop to it. Firmly but calmly state: “You’re very angry right now and you’re saying things you don’t mean (give them the benefit of the doubt). I’m going to excuse myself. We can talk again after you calm down.” Then leave the room or ask them to leave.

6. If you are wrong, quickly admit it and take responsibility. You could say, “You’re absolutely right, it is my fault and here is what I’ll do to fix it.” Even if you’re NOT wrong, at least give them the benefit of the doubt, “I may be wrong, let’s look at the facts together.” It’s hard to argue with that!

These words have tremendous power. Not only does it validate the other person’s viewpoint but it also diffuses the tension. You might be surprised by what happens afterwards. The person could end up defending you. You’d be amazed how an attacker suddenly becomes an ally.

7. Use the power of visualization. If you’re dealing with someone you interact with on a daily basis (like a boss or co-worker), try to imagine that person as a loving spiritual being. I did this with a boss I had at a Wall Street bank several years ago. He was an absolute tyrant and gave everyone a hard time. In retrospect, he was clearly unhappy and insecure.

One day I started to visualize him as a loving grandfather. When he was in a good mood, he would lovingly talk about his grandchildren. His eyes and face would light up with incredible joy, leading me to realize there was a softhearted man behind the hard facade. Every morning before going to work, I imagined him romping around in the backyard on a warm, breezy day with his grandkids squealing and laughing with delight.

Long story short, this man promoted me almost 1 year later, in no small part due to the power of visualization. No one can dispute that this works because I’ve lived to tell the story. I’ve used it win trips to Mexico and Bermuda (sales contests at Merrill Lynch), to forgive those who have hurt me, to become the world’s first deaf instrument pilot, and to give powerful presentations.

Food for thought: Think about how you’ve dealt with difficult people in the past. Were you tempted to prove them wrong, trying to save face? Were you able to see through the facade and recognize that all they want is to be heard, loved and validated? Have you tried the power of visualization?

Stephen Hopson is a former Wall Street stockbroker turned motivational speaker, author and pilot. He blogs at Adversity University and shares his personal experiences in dealing with adversity through stories, observations, and tips.

129 Responses to 7 Tips for Resolving Conflicts Quickly and Peacefully

  1. I find remaining calm the cornerstone of this whole article. It’s so easy to let things escalate out of control with two raging egos. And yes, sometimes anger comes from the need to be heard. So letting the person speak without being defensive is absolutely important.

  2. John Wesley says:

    I agree. Like you said, the most important skill is being able to subvert your own ego for the sake of making peace.

  3. LW says:

    This is an exceptional article–and this is coming from one who is sometimes the angry character you’re defending against. When I’m angry it’s because I feel attacked, and as a double minority, the attack is not usually in my own mind.

    Funny thing is, I know some who are members of the “majority” who are even quicker to anger than I am. I don’t get that, don’t understand their anger.

    Your admonition to “imagine” the angry one as a loving, spiritual being sounds just like my mother and my Sunday School teachers. Hmm.

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  5. David Finch says:

    The hardest part in conflict resolution is being able to think and respond “outside” the issue. Determining from the beginning to be a peacemaker throughout can be the biggest challenge, yet when it’s done successfully it is extremely rewarding for all parties involved.

    Great article! Thanks for sharing your insights.

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  7. Andrew says:

    Great advice Stephen.

    I have a variant of your suggestion to see people as spiritual beings. Years ago someone told me to visualise difficult people on the toilet! It makes them seem less threatening and can even be amusing.

  8. LW says:

    Andrew–with all due respect to the one who gave you that advice, I think there’s a big difference between creating peace and just enjoying (??) a private moment of contempt for the “difficult” person–who probably thinks you are the one who is being difficult.

    Of course, I’ve never felt threatened by an angry person, but if you do, and having a strange visual helps, well, um, you’re on your own with this.

  9. Yup… this is good advice. One of my first jobs was in the call center for a major bank. As you can imagine, I had to regularly deal with difficult customers. All these tips worked well for me.

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  12. Andrew says:


    If someone is very “in your face” and disrespectful I don’t think it does any harm reduce the fear you have of them by having a little fun in your head.

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  15. Andrew Krause says:

    Nothing stops an argument more effectively than stabbing someone in the throat. But, as polite society frowns on such sanguineous displays of aggression… these are some really good tips. Thanks.

  16. Jay says:

    @ Andrew: was thinking of something similar: walk out calmly, get a shotgun and ‘redecorate’ the shop. When no mirror is left hanging, just put the $12,00 on the counter and leave. Ok, that was the Tarantino scenario. Personally, I would get up, pay and leave. Most likely without a word. I would ‘win’, because his tirade wouldn’t get any response – just leaving him behind bewildered, making him look like…..

  17. shayne says:

    easy to forgive…hard to forget

  18. Barius says:

    Two things I don’t completely agree with:

    1) “…We can talk again after you calm down.” Then leave the room or ask them to leave.”
    Unless the room was a part of my own house I would always be the one to leave. Asking them to leave will likely escalate the confrontation again.

    2) “If you are wrong, quickly admit it and take responsibility.”
    There needs to be emphasis on the ‘IF’ you are wrong. Only do this if you really, really are wrong. If you do it too often, or too easily you can quickly become the target of bullies that know how to talk faster than you.

  19. Ravi Vora says:

    Nice article. It seems that these tips, however common sense, are rarely used because of your natural reaction. Hopefully people actually use these tips when their gut kicks in.

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  22. Rubab says:

    Reall good tips for everyone

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  26. Mark says:

    Every example you cite involves yielding. What about the situation where the person is stubborn and wrong? How do you change their mind? It seems that all you suggest is stay calm and back away

  27. John Wesley says:


    You make a good point. Obviously, if you continue yielding time after time, people will simply walk over you. I think the focus of this article is the beginning point of a conflict, when yielding will help diffuse the situation and getting angry will only fuel it. If being agreeable doesn’t get results, then a more aggressive strategy could become necessary.

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  33. me says:

    Sure, they are good communication tips. But when you put it in the context of verbal abuse, you’re essentially telling people to sit back and take it. You can’t change someone who is verbally abusive, simply by virtue of responding properly. They are too intent on taking out their anger.

    In the very least, if you’re going to mention abuse, it would be nice if you’d advise people to do these things short- term, but NOT long-term. Doing them long term is considered patience, with a normal relationship – but to a verbal abuser, it’s enabling.

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  36. Jenny Beach says:

    This is not new stuff. It seems they got this directly from Dale Carnegie.

  37. Yup.. trying to stay calm and keeping your emotions under control (so YOU don’t say things you will come to regret) is a key technique for avoiding escalation of a bad situation.

    However, I have found that some people, once they get going, cannot stop themselves from becoming totally overwrought and out of control, continuing to carry on with expanding, irrational, even more serious statements… and NEVER seem to run down or run out of inflammatory, accusing, abusive words. It all comes rushing out in an unbottled tirade of injustice, meaning of course that they are unloading a vastly bigger aggrievement than this one particular matter. And nothing is going to be resolved until that blows over.

    Extricating oneself at that point is the only way to survive.


  38. Chris says:

    These tips are great. While I usually don’t get into arguments (in as a modest way as possible, most people tend to like and agree with me) I admit I am quite the cowardly scared person in a conflict – I’ll either become violent or will say something stupid to anger them further before getting out of there as fast as possible. Though the getting out part is good, the rest is bad. Thanks for these, I feel these will help me.

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  40. Greg Harris says:

    Thanks for great advice and I needed it. I am a seasoned professional who went back to school and got a degree in current technology plus armed with prior people skills coving decades of sales experience. This younger guy hires me out of need for my education and turns out to be an angry young man who is suffering from wanting power but not knowing how to handle it and lives in a video game lifestyle. Guy sweats me daily for being for so professional and able to handle people so well and remains angry for unknown reasons….so I started visualization concepts that I learned from just caring about people who I always assume the best intentions. I try to see him as a loving father and husband; when he talks about his son his eyes light up. I think visualization seems to neutralize his anger and the core of the anger his wanting to provide a better life for his family. Moreover change in organizational outlook rocks his world yet for me visualizations concepts of seeing him as a loving caring person temporary side track his aim. The other skills mentioned above are a great approach too….I am sure I need those with this guy too…..thanks

  41. John Wesley says:

    I’m glad the article was useful. Visualization can be a powerful technique. It might sound a bit “out there” but imagining something can change your perspective.

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  46. This was a great article, which I read with great interest. For me I feel a key to solving conflicts is to separate the arguments from the people and then to look at the arguments as objectively as possible. If you find favor with one of the arguments or any point, then acknowledge that and thank the person who brought that into the argument. Then, if all people in an argument are acknowledged and thanked, then each one is likely to feel accepted and placcated (if necessary) whatever the eventual outcome or decision made.

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  57. Khupneireng Leivon says:


    I have read the articles Kindly Send me maney articles to my email address.It help me to control myself and calm .
    Thanking you.
    Khupneireng Leivon

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  63. lon arriola says:

    true dat barius great addition to the discussion, i totally agree.

  64. These suggestions actually fit perfectly in a call center setting. Customers may often find themselves in a conversation with an agent and it may seem that the agent is not helping much. Equally, an agent may occasionally find himself speaking with an irate customer. Your tips can help pacify any aggressive situation and leave both sides feeling happy.

  65. james says:

    Seven tips for resolving conflicts quickly and peacefully. We all go up against at least one nutjob in our lives, here’s a remarkably common sense guide to dealing with them.
    Good Health


  66. dodo says:

    this stuff is stupid and dumb haha lol.

  67. dodo says:

    this has reall not helped me y do you put this stuff up to supposdley help someone get a life

  68. mel says:

    awesome thank you so much

  69. Cathy says:

    Great article. I love the tip where you mention “There is power in the words “Yes, yes, I see exactly what you’re saying. You mean…….” This one statement can turn an argument around because you allow the other person to know that you hear him/her.

  70. ANNY says:


  71. Just wrote about this on my blog actually. I find it great that our first point, stay calm, is the same! (

    I really think that this contains some great tips, even though it was posted years ago. 

  72. Adrian Cremona says:

    great tips – as someone who lives with a person with anger issues i know i have tried many many methods to “change” their behaviour…. this makes me realise i need to change my behaviour – not be so reactionary and not take it personal – some people just suck at expressing themselves…

  73. Adrian Cremona says:

    great tips – as someone who lives with a person with anger issues i know i have tried many many methods to “change” their behaviour…. this makes me realise i need to change my behaviour – not be so reactionary and not take it personal – some people just suck at expressing themselves…

  74. Www Cleo14 says:

    i think that using a co-operative method is wayt easier because this method does not cause more conflick it resolves the problem by identifying a creative solution by using positive discussion.

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  76. Coolman168 says:

    this is great

  77. Annalie_esguerra says:

    could you send me the full copy 

  78. Dez says:

    I really liked these steps but the problem is, what if it is not you who spoils the moment,I mean what if the person you are talking to is not open to listen and understand your side.

  79. Deadboy Love says:

    I understand your this little problem, usually this happen under the circumstances where we didn’t find the things according to our expectation.. so stay in touch with someone who  you like the most spend time with that try to do the thing of his/her choices, trust me you will find a very big change in yourself.
    Thank You
    Jagmohan Verma

  80. Joan Cooper says:

    Jealousy and hostility in immediate family…..

  81. Hally says:

    It sounds like the key is not to take things personally.

  82. Abugreshadrach says:

    I like your tips and be please if you can help me solve conflict in northern Ghana.
    It has been my desire since my first year in Koforidua Polytechnic. so please, I need help from all over the world. interested persons should contact me on 0246753118 or 0266205353. 

  83. Jackie Fredericks says:

    These are some awesome tips. I also learned a whole lot more about conflict resolution and managing my personal power when I took a class put on by 3 awesome mediators. They’re putting it on again and if you’re in the Twin Cities, take advantage of this incredible Minneapolis event.

  84. Monique says:

    When I raid this, I was actually trying to see if it could help my ex but it actually showed that i was the person who wanted to be heard. So sad :(

  85. Apropos Adriana says:

    I have a problem, I want to resolve.  My sister in law  has offended me, and would like to stand up to her, but by doing this I will actually cause more problems. I want to assert myself but in doing this I will be causing a big problem since that is the nature of her personality. My conflict is should i confront her and if so how, without it going to the next level of anger?

  86. Sendilvelan says:

    its a case study, u dont have any hard & fast rules for everything in life, 
    its a situation you combat, with confidence but without whining away

  87. Sendilvelan says:

    everyone is wise, everyone knows everything the trigger is are we following it as a routing is the ??????

  88. rajesh says:

    excellent article!

  89. Tana Brouillette says:

    Conflict resolution is not just about solving problems, it is also about understanding the other person to find out why the issue surfaced in the first place.

  90. Tana Brouillette says:

    Conflict resolution is not just about solving problems, it is also about understanding the other person to find out why the issue surfaced in the first place.

  91. Conflict resolution is not only about solving problems but also understanding where others are coming from and how the problems originated.

  92. Riekpeter says:

    Good statement Tana.

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  96. Walter Fakeshoon says:


  97. Ameta Astha says:

    veryimpressive,actually I m one of those angry persons, but what to do when sum1 repeatedly makes the same mistake and everytime he listens to ur anger calmly but without any efforts made for improving on those mistakes?????

  98. Rubby says:

    what rubbish is this

  99. Guestischya says:

    seriously gay

  100. Langies Mardelyne says:

    i really love your conflict resolution tips

  101. Theresa Rose Sw says:

     This is great for children and adults. The morality is the most important. Most thank you.

  102. Dwightvincentreyes says:


  103. Dwightvincentreyes says:

    peter an pope

  104. Thompsonkayana says:

    I agree. although sometimes people find it hard to avoid conflict.

  105. Ddgadgil says:


  106. Msweis4 says:

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom! :)

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  108. peace says:

    Good article. Respect is important and apologizing for hurtful words is important.
    Some people hold grudges and say the same  hurtful things trying to hurt a person to get their own way. Coming from a place in the heart from love rather than the ego can be helpful. 

  109. peace says:

    Keeping to the argument rather than dishonoring a person is important.
    People will lose respect for you and question your values and leadership if
    they take to dishonoring a person. Everyone insults people from time to time
    but the FOCUS should be on resolving the conflict rather than escalating it with
    abusive insults.

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  111. past transgressions says:

    Thanks for all the tips.

    Listening is very important. Only speaking and not listening carefully to the other person will not solve your conflict.


  112. cliff maposa says:

    nice tips

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  115. Chrissy says:

    it shouldn’t be about “changing their mind” the need to be heard above resolving conflict means you are stubborn. (not you specifically) but one who puts the need to be heard above resolving the conflict. If you know you are right then you should feel content with that. Agree to disagree or state your view when you have satisfied THEIR need to be heard. They will only listen after this is done. They will either understand or not understand but that is on them. Do you follow? :) peace.

  116. This is what I have learned says:

    Record everything, then sue.

  117. Don Curley says:

    i used to be involved in many conflicts, but using these tips i am now the coolest kid at my school!

  118. justin dang says:

    this whole article is fucking bulshit

  119. Mike Witkowski says:

    Before i had this website at my disposal, i was bullied and cried myself to sleep almost every night. Now i resolve conflicts like a damn genius. i get bitches too

  120. sfjhjsdfhsdjfl says:

    its also key to have swag

  121. efsgsdgwghsdgs says:


  122. U don't know who Iam bitch says:


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