Conflict can arise in any group for any number of reasons. Your group can be a sports team, an on-campus group, an off-campus group, or maybe just the group of friends you hang out with. Dealing with conflict can be a stressful situation, but there are a few tips that will make it a whole lot easier.

Approaching Conflict

Of course you want to wave your magic wand and make the conflict go away. This, unfortunately, is outside the realm of physical possibilities. Instead, conflict should be approached as soon as possible. If left too long, interpersonal or group conflict can become a hindrance to group and personal growth. When approaching conflict, map out what you are going to say ahead of time, think about word choice, tone, and body language. Try using the "I" statement method:

  • "I" feel like I'm not part of the group when I am not invited to coffee afterwards. "I" would like to feel like part of the group.
  • "I" feel uncomfortable when you make statements about _________. This is why I feel uncomfortable ___________. 
  • Avoid placing blame. This will only make the other person/group guard and defend themselves, instead of listening to your concern and trying to dissolve the conflict.
  • Get mediation if necessary. There are resources and people to help resolve conflict, whether it be group leaders, team captains or coaches, RA's, or someone you trust.

One SU student, who has had training as a summer camp counselor thinks, "the most important thing you can do after encountering conflict is to wait until you are out of the situation that is bringing the conflict, or wait till there is a time and place you can look at the conflict objectively, so you aren't responding to the conflict right out of the gate, but have time to think about it first. Things always seem worse right after they happen."