How To Resolve A Dispute The Right Way

April 25, 2023

Issues come up all the time. You can have problems with your ex, neighbors, and even retail stores. And you will need to handle them. But it is how you try to resolve a dispute that often determines the outcome. It can be long and challenging, so here are some tips to take note of.

Use A Professional Service If Required

It can be very demanding and challenging to deal with complex issues. For example, going through a divorce or custody dispute can take its toll. And there is a ton of legal paperwork and filings to be done. However, you can use professional services like the family law office of Ben Carrasco and other firms like it. Of course, this is on the higher end of the scale. Yet you can use services like an ombudsman or mediation to resolve consumer and retail problems.

Politely State What Your Issue Is

One of the best ways to get through a problem is to talk with the other party directly and tell them what the problem is. Assuming there is no chance of violence or harm, this is the best first step. And it often works out that this is all you need to do. This is because, in many cases, someone else, like a neighbor, might not even know they are causing you a problem. Things like banging on walls for loud noises or sending a letter could be shown as you causing an issue.

Plan Your Statement To Resolve A Dispute

It always helps to plan for things in life. And trying to sort out a problem is one of them. You must plan what you want to say. This helps because the way you say something can determine the success of the outcome. For example, try not to be intimidating or unfriendly in your approach, but try to get them to see it from your point of view. It also helps to plan when you are to approach someone. For instance, no one will like it if you come over to their home for dinner.

Try Not To Play The Blame Game

A dispute can escalate to the point of becoming a nuisance to others, the other party, and your own family. And the first step to this happening is usually when everyone starts playing the blame game. This can become antagonizing and unsettling and is just a waste of everyone’s time. Also, no one wants to listen to each other when this happens. So the best plan is to be open, honest, and ready to hear everyone’s side of the story so you can all agree on a solution.

Listen To The Other Side Of The Story

After approaching someone over an issue, whether it is faulty work, a loud neighbor, or someone smoking cannabis next door, always listen to what they have to say. More often than not, someone is not aware they have caused an issue. And if you just listen, they could be willing to stop what they are doing, rectify the problem and apologize. Also, stay calm when dealing with someone because if they go defensive, it will be hard to come to a solution or agreement.

Have All Relevant Information To Hand

When there is a genuine issue, and it is repeated or provable, always make sure you show evidence and information for your claim. For example, if someone keeps blocking your driveway, take photos of it so you can show them. Here are some other things you can do:

  • State your feelings when you approach someone about a problem they are causing.
  • Let them know how what they are doing is affecting your life.
  • Outline some reasons why you would like or need them to stop what they do.
  • Present any evidence (legally) that you have so they can see what the problem is.
  • Provide them with times and dates so they can avoid causing you a problem.
  • Show them any evidence you have that they might be breaking the law.
  • Ask how they feel about making an arrangement that suits the lifestyle of everyone.

Gathering evidence can help sort out many issues. But you must be careful what you record. For example, it is OK to note times and dates. But you cannot point your CCTV at a neighbor’s garden because of privacy laws. And always stay calm and polite when you show evidence.

Respond After Listening

Just as you expect to be listened to, the best thing you can do is listen to the other party as well. Both sides have their version of events and reasoning for the actions they take, what they do, or how they respond. And how you respond after listening can play a key role in what happens next. Always stay calm and never lose your temper, even if the other party is difficult. A polite response is always better than a firm and aggressive one that almost always makes it worse.

Politely Talk It Through

While everyone is calm and has been made aware of the issue, the next move is to sit down like responsible adults and simply talk it through. In most cases, you can all agree on something without involving lawyers, the police, or other officials. All of which just cost more time and money. It helps to say how you all feel about something and how you are being affected. Also listen to the feelings and experiences of others and don’t just think about your own.

Resolve A Dispute By Working Together On A Solution

Talking about the problem means everyone is made aware of what is going on. And once that has been established, it is time to begin working on a solution to the problem. Ask each person to present what they think is the best way forward, and listen without judgment. Present what you think is best, and work together on a plan that suits everyone. For example, if your neighbor plays loud music, try to agree on a reasonable listening volume and a time to switch it off.

Make A Plan For Checking The Progress

Unless you come up with a legally binding contract, or even if you do, it helps to offer a way to measure the agreed-upon dispute resolution. You can check the agreement at regular stages to ensure all parties stick to their responsibilities. For instance, make a note if your neighbor breaches the loud music agreement. And then, you can present this and remind them of their role. You could also agree to meet with each other to discuss other issues you may have.

Consider The Ability Of The Other Side

In most cases, you can work to agree on a plan that suits everyone. But not everyone has the ability to stick to a plan or is able to stop what they are doing. For example, a neighbor playing loud music or blasting the TV might be hard of hearing and, therefore, not even aware they are causing an issue. So always consider the abilities of the other side before wading in. This is one of the main reasons why it helps to stay calm and present your case calmly and politely.


There are many ways to resolve a dispute. And more often than not, you can go about it all wrong. You can use lawyers if you need to. But for most issues, it helps to just say what the problem is, present any information you need to, and work with the other side on a plan.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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