Dealing with Conflict

Adrian HLV Staff Alumni

Have you ever had a conflict within the community rise to the point of making you blood boil and you were so enraged you could not see? Thankfully it doesn't happen often, or I hope it doesn't. Recently I had this experience in a community I am part of, and the conflict was quite irrational.

I'd love to hear from you what your strategies to deal with conflict are. I personally find my best way to deal is to open notepad and write all things I want. Then I take a breath, go for a glass of water or a walk. Finally, I will relook at what I wrote to compose things a bit more "diplomatically".

Other tricks I use are:

  • Making sure to use the “I” instead of “you”
  • Zone in on the specific behaviour or circumstances rather than the individual.
  • Agree to meet privately to discuss the issue at a specific future time, so there is a chance for cooler heads to prevail.

I have a lot more, but I'd love to hear if you have any strategies you found that have helped.


  • PiperWilson


    Great topic. I have quite a temper and work hard to control it. I've rarely written down my preferred response to edit later. I tend to argue with the person in my head for a little while instead. It helps me calm down a little if I can get away from the computer for a while as I argue. Even if I can't get away, my next steps are to take control of my thought process.

    First, I remind myself to assume good intent. Even if the member is being objectively inappropriate (name-calling, cursing, etc.), one can view their behavior as a symptom of their passion surrounding the topic. It's a hard sell sometimes, but it starts to humanize the other person.

    Then, in a manner similar to Adrian, I concentrate on the behavior I see. I try to interpret the underlying message of what they've said or done.

    For example, if a member starts calling the product team stupid or incompetent - well, that's inappropriate behavior, and if I'm the moderator, I deal with it. But what does the behavior mean? It may mean they don't feel heard. I can empathize with frustration - another step toward humanizing the other person.

    I can't emphasize enough how important it is to view the other person as a person with valid feelings rather than offensive pixels on a screen.

    Once I've calmed down a little and "talked" with the member in my head for a while, I start writing. Again, like Adrian, I focus on I statements and the behavior. My replies also tend to be formal rather than casual. I find it challenging to be rude to someone when I'm trying to sound like Miss Manners. 🤣

    After I've written my response, possible before posting can before I post it. OR, I don't post it at all. If I'm not the moderator, there may be no reason to respond, no matter how well crafted my response is. Not having the last word is HARD!