Most residents share a common vision for their community— after all, you all bought into the community for similar reasons—whether it’s proximity to work, school district, or access to amenities. But, while you all share a single vision for the community, oftentimes the ideas about how to achieve the vision are as varied as the number of people who live there. Because of this, conflict in communities is inevitable. The good news is that, when conflict resolution is handled properly, you can enjoy better relationships and improved harmony within the community. Here are five tips for how to best handle conflict with neighbors.

  1. Pick your battles.

Not everything that bothers you is worth addressing. Is someone being too loud? Perhaps they just have visitors for the weekend and all will go back to normal when they leave. Make sure you consider the impact of the infraction and align your response and course of action accordingly.

  1. Talk face-to-face.

If you do decide to address an issue, make sure to talk face-to-face. Don’t gossip with other neighbors or write a note that could easily be misinterpreted. Communicate early before the situation escalates and never confront someone when you’re upset.

  1. Be respectful.

When speaking with your neighbor, make sure to be respectful and treat them how you’d like to be treated. Consider fundamental differences and don’t assume the person is being purposely offensive – they simply may be unaware of the problem. Stay calm, use I-statements, and listen well. It’s also helpful to offer up solutions and even ask about your own behavior.

  1. If needed, seek additional help.

If you’ve spoken with your neighbor and they weren’t receptive or didn’t change, consider getting help. Speak with your board of directors, a designated committee, association staff member or the authorities if needed.

  1. Be a good neighbor.

The best way to avoid conflict is to be a good neighbor yourself! Make sure to follow your association’s rules and be cooperative. Create relationships with your neighbors and do your best to contribute to the overall well-being of your community.