City of Burlington, Vermont City of Burlington, Vermont

Burlington Community Justice Center
200 Church Street, Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 865-7155
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Tips for Managing Conflict

Ways of handling conflicts that make it better:

  • Address the issue as soon as possible
  • Have discussions when things have cooled down
  • Attack the problem and not the person
  • Hold all parties involved responsible for arriving at the solution to the problem
  • Strive for solutions where no one loses

Ways of handling the conflict that make things worse or that have no effect:

  • The conflict gets ignored or denied
  • The conflict gets blown out of proportion
  • Blame for the conflict is placed on someone
  • You engage in struggles where one person wins and the other loses

Steps to take when you have a conflict with a neighbor:

  • Before you call the police, try to talk to your neighbor. Often neighbors are unaware of the problem (for example their dog barks when they are not home) or they may not realize the activity bothers someone else.
  • If the issue continues, bring it up again. Try to work together to come up with solutions that will work for both parties.
  • Talk to others to find out if they are also affected by the disturbance. The more people who are willing to address the issue the faster it will be resolved.
  • If you both live in rental units, remind them of the lease agreement or property rules if there are any. This will give them a chance to respond before the landlord becomes involved.
  • If there is a local ordinance that the neighbor is violating, get a copy and give it to the neighbor along with a letter asking them to follow the ordinance.
  • If you get no response from the neighbor then it is appropriate to call the authorities.