(WWTI) – Disagreements are unavoidable, but everyone should learn to peacefully resolve them, today is Conflict Resolution Day.

Disagreements have been going on long before human beings walked the earth, although animals probably disagree about territory rather than a beloved sports team. Humans often have arguments to satisfy individual needs and interests, whether it’s in a daycare or in our nation’s capital. Today is for promoting awareness of mediation, arbitration, conciliation and other creative, peaceful methods of resolving conflict in schools, families, businesses, communities, governments and the legal system.

“When friction enters a working relationship …. Sometimes the best path through it is an indirect one — ask for a favor.”

Benjamin Franklin, 1737

The American Psychological Association has some tips for managing conflict in a healthy way:

  • Think it over: Honestly assess the situation. Thinking about what the real problem is in the relationship and what you contributed to it might be, U.S. Naval Academy psychologist and mentoring expert W. Brad Johnson, PhD advises.
  • Consult others: Get a range of perspectives from people you respect and trust, Linda M. Forrest, PhD, professor of counseling psychology at the University of Oregon advises.
  • Prepare to talk with your adviser: Figure out what you want to say and how to say it, don’t blame others. Forrest recommends saying what’s not working for you and take responsibility for your part in the conflict. The sooner the better.
  • Document your concerns: Keep a paper trail, including notes on your discussions with your adviser. Forrest recommends that these notes be factual statements like who did or said what, on which dates and should be without negative attributions, blame or attack.
  • Use grace: Sometimes, a light touch is all that’s needed. In fact, most student-adviser conflicts can be handled quickly, immediately and informally, without having to resort to more radical measures, according to Johnson.
  • Follow up: Ask for another meeting if you didn’t air everything you wanted to on the first round. These discussions can be stressful and new solutions may emerge once you have cooled off.
  • Don’t put it off: While you might hesitate to tackle a conflict with a superior for fear of repercussions, Forrest says “Take the risk,” because no matter where you are in your career, there will always be someone you’ll need to confront on important or difficult matters.

Happy Conflict Resolution Day!