Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process where people with disputes come together, sit down with one or two mediators, and talk about ways to resolve their dispute. This is a formal meeting with ground-rules, and a commitment by parties to share relevant information, listen to all points of view, and to be willing to explore creative solutions as a resolution to the issues. Mediators are neutral third-parties and do not give advice or make suggestions. Agreements come from the parties themselves.
To Start: When someone has a conflict, they can contact the Neighbor-to-Neighbor office to discuss their situation and ask questions about mediation. A phone call is the best way to reach us.
Mediation is a voluntary process. This means we would need to speak to all parties involved before we could set up a mediation. For this reason, we ask that when you call you give us the names and phone numbers of any parties you are wishing to mediate with. Without consent, we can not schedule a mediation.
If both parties are willing to meet, we will set up a time and place (usually at the Neighbor-To-Neighbor offices) to mediate with typically two of our trained, volunteer mediators.
Most of the time, agreements are reached. However, even if the parties do not reach an agreement, we generally find that they do come away from the process with new understandings, clarified information, and reduced stress in their relationship. Data collected from surveys show satisfaction rates over 80%.
If you would like to know more about mediation, call the Neighbor-to-Neighbor office at 503-585-0651.
STEPS TOWARD RESOLVING CONFLICTS ON YOUR OWN, AND IN MEDIATION:
Assuming that there is no threat of physical violence, talk directly to the person with whom you have the problem. Direct conversation is much more effective than sending a letter, banging on the wall, throwing a rock, or complaining to everyone else.
CHOOSE A GOOD TIME
Plan to talk to the other person at the right time, and allow yourself enough time for a thorough discussion. Don’t start talking about the conflict just as the other person is leaving for work, after you have had a terrible day, or right before you have to make dinner. Try to talk in a quiet place where you can both be comfortable and undisturbed for as long as the discussion takes.
Think out what you want to say ahead of time. State clearly what the problem is and how it affects you.
DON’T BLAME OR NAME CALL
Antagonizing the other person only makes it harder for him or her to hear you. Don’t blame the other person for everything or begin the conversation with your opinion of what should be done. SEPARATE THE PERSON FROM THE PROBLEM.
Don’t interpret the other person’s behavior: “You are blocking my driveway on purpose just to make me mad!” Instead, give information about your own feelings: “When your car blocks my driveway, I feel angry because I can’t get to work on time.”
Give the other person a chance to tell his or her side of the conflict completely. Relax and listen. Try to learn how the other person feels about what is going on. See if you can summarize what you heard.
TALK IT ALL THROUGH
Once you start, get all of the issues and feelings out into the open. Don’t leave out the part that seems too “difficult” to discuss or too “insignificant” to be important. Your solution will work best if all the issues are discussed thoroughly. Most issues reflect underlying concerns and interests that are often the key to resolution. Issues such as fairness, honesty, kindness, caring are often at the root of the issue. Try to identify common values which may bring you to solutions.