Friday, November 20, 2015

Solve Neighbor Disputes with Mediation

Bruised by a dispute with your neighbor? The occasional conflict is a natural byproduct of living very close to one another. It’s possible to get your disagreement resolved before it escalates and certainly before you end up in court. You should consider mediation—a process that can save you money and aggravation and lead to more peaceful community environment.

In mediation, a neutral third party meets with you and your neighbor, often in an informal setting, to keep everyone focused on solving the problem. Mediation works particularly well by managing expectations; and, generally, the dispute is resolved within a day.

For example, let’s say you’re battling your upstairs neighbor about noise. She works until 2 a.m. and infuriates you by walking around her unit in the wee hours of the morning. Through mediation, each of you can talk, listen and learn about each other. She agrees to take off her shoes when she gets home; and you can call when there is a problem.

A mediators’ first task is to understand how and why the conflict escalated. He or she is trained to search through highly charged responses to understand the crux of the problem. Mediation is about compromise. Be willing to learn and hear. Be open-minded. Mediation tends to fail when people can't get beyond their emotions.

If you go to court, one of you will win and one will lose. If you mediate your differences, both of you will find consensus-based, creative solutions to your problems. And that allows for more harmony in the community.

You can find a qualified mediator in our area by searching on “mediators” in your web browser or in the Yellow Pages.

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