Conflict is a natural part of housing communities, as many of us are diverse. We have different ideas about what quiet and order means, different schedules and values.
What happens to unresolved conflicts?
Even when there are walls or a fence separating our living spaces, living side by side can still bring conflict. Sounds, smells, overhanging branches, uncertain property boundaries, parking in front of gates, pets, children, perhaps different agendas and values can all be sources of conflict. However, it need not necessarily end in arguments and long litigation, as this is not what will produce acceptable, shared solutions.
If we've tried to gently signal to our neighbour what is bothering us and the message hasn't got through, tensions can mount. Slowly, we start to feel annoyed by the sight of our neighbour, we hide around our own home, perhaps making comments to see if we understand. We think about going to court, and then we push back because of the high costs. Or, in our final desperation, we join the conflict. However, experience shows that the decisions at the end of court proceedings cannot deal with how it will feel to look each other in the eye when we meet again day after day. Even if we are proved right we are not met with a good taste in our mouths, and if the relationship is not resolved, the conflict can flare up again and again.
How does mediation help?
- On the one hand, it is faster and cheaper than going to court. On the other hand, the parties themselves can work out a solution that works for them, because we create a new kind of communication where real interests and needs come first, instead of emotions. And if we can listen to each other, we are more likely to work out joint and lasting solutions, which are more likely to be respected than measures imposed from outside.
- There is no further conflict between the parties generated by win-win positions, as we are striving for solutions that are acceptable to all.
- The parties have the opportunity to recognise that they are interdependent in resolving the situation and can start to move from being enemies to partners.
- Through the communication techniques used in mediation, problem-solving behaviour becomes dominant. This makes it possible to resolve situations that previously seemed intractable.
What is the mediation process?
- If one of the parties contacts us by phone or email, they can briefly explain the conflict and we will inform them about the mediation process and framework. As volunteering is an important principle of mediation, we ask the person we have already spoken to to give our telephone number to the other party and ask them to call us.
- Once all the key players in the conflict have been consulted, we will jointly arrange a meeting.
- A mediation process can take several sessions, as change requires time and support. The mediator is bound by confidentiality, i.e. he or she cannot disclose information to third parties.
- If an agreement is reached during the process, it is put in writing - this can help the parties to be clear about what they have agreed and, if necessary, to agree further on how exactly to implement it.
What can I do if I want to come for mediation but my neighbour doesn't want to hear about it?
Even if the other party is not open to dialogue, you can do a lot to prevent communication between you from deteriorating. Conflict consultationWe will help you find your own resources and communication strategies tailored to your situation. Our methodological tools are based on constructive communication. After the consultation, you can return to your everyday environment with a change plan and, if you wish, we will guide you through the change process, so you can consult our mediator colleague several times.
As a result of the consultation, you will
- You can see your own room for manoeuvre in a given case, so you can handle the situation more consciously
- Learn to recognise the current phases of a conflict and adapt your solutions accordingly
- You can reduce your stress because you can see more aspects from the outside
- Gain skills and practice in constructive communication tools, increasing your personal effectiveness by providing you with tools that can be adapted to other situations
- You're not alone as you look for solutions, and with expert support you can make changes more consistently in important situations.