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The Would-Be Borrower Communication Conflict

Conflicts related to misunderstanding or lack of communication is a common problem in modern society. The so-called “The Would-be Borrower” conflict is one example of such a misunderstanding. A situation in which one person accepts the personal property of another as his property can lead to unpleasant consequences. This is exactly what happened in the case under study with Joan and Mary. The study of these disputes and the causes of their occurrence will help to prevent and effectively regulate this type of conflict.

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The case study describes a conflict situation between two neighbours. Joan was going to buy a car, and Mary immediately began to treat it as an acquisition of common property. Joan felt that this was a kind of intrusion into personal property (Folger et al., 2018). The conflict grew as Mary began to put pressure on her roommate, and the girl, in turn, did not know how to correctly tell her friend that she did not want to give her a car. As a result, the situation ended with the fact that the neighbours quarrelled because Joan expressly set the insurance date later than Mary needed. Only after that, the friends explain to each other and concluded that the lack of communication had a negative impact on the development of the situation.

As a rule, any conflict that arises between people with different values, views and ideas is characterized by the emergence of elevated negative emotions. Such strong feelings are the basis of conflict interaction. Another feature is that when a controversial situation arises, opponents move away from a little and do not take into account generally accepted social norms. Non-compliance with them can lead to a deterioration of the situation since these norms determine the interaction of people.

It should be noted that The Would-be Borrower conflict directly affects the moral side of human interaction. A moral conflict can be characterized as a clash of the subjects’ requirements for behaviour, certain obligations and prohibitions. The peculiarity of such a contradiction is that in the current situation, the choice is presented as following a particular moral norm, which will lead to a violation of the norm of another person (Singer et al., 2019). Therefore, Joan believed that it was impossible to give a newly bought car for such a long journey, and Mary believed it was necessary to share everything with friends. Both girls had a position that they considered correct. Because of this, they both felt that each was not acting in accordance with the norms, and a conflict arose.

Religion can also be of significant importance both in the emergence and in the resolution of a conflict. So the Christian religion says that people need to share with their neighbours and not be greedy. However, at the same time, religion also declares; do not wish for anything else. Moreover, faith emphasizes that proper and well-formed relationships between people are not formed automatically. Such connections need to be built gradually and patiently, which may not be easy but will have a positive result in the future.

Such a conflict resolution strategy as avoidance, which Joan used, is ineffective for several reasons. This style is characterized as the most passive, which reduces to the denial of the presence of an external conflict. An example is Joan’s complete disregard for Mary’s appeals and unwillingness to talk to her neighbour about the conflict. Such a way of resolving a disputable situation may lead to the fact that the interests of both parties will not be satisfied, and a rational solution will not be chosen.

One of the ways to resolve and prevent conflict is to create a favorable psychological environment that will facilitate the cooperation of opponents. To do this, it is necessary to strive for constant constructive communication to let other people understand their thoughts, intentions and desires. Taking this factor into account, if Joan had immediately informed Mary that she did not want to give her a new car for such a long trip, the possibility of a stressful situation would have decreased. If a conflict situation could not be avoided, then the recognition of its existence also plays a decisive role. It is impossible to deny and ignore the quarrel and stop any communication with the conflicting party. This can lead to unfounded guesses and conclusions that can only make the situation worse.

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The helpful and productive way that could be used to solve Mary and Joan’s conflict situation could be finding a compromise. It is considered one of the most effective and efficient ways to resolve disputes between people. A compromise is an agreement that is achieved through mutual concessions. In addition, such feelings as understanding and empathy are taken into account. Klimecki (2019) mentions that “empathy and compassion are associated with more prosocial behaviour in interpersonal relations” (p. 310). The way to resolve the conflict by compromise allows each participant to get what they wanted partially. Thus, The Would-be Borrower conflict can be resolved using a compromise method of dispute resolution.


Folger, J., Poole, M. S., & Stutman, R. K. (2018). Working through conflict strategies for relationships, groups, and organizations. Routledge.

Klimecki, O. M. (2019). The role of empathy and compassion in conflict resolution. Emotion Review, 11(4), 310-325.

Singer, N., Kreuzpointner, L., Sommer, M., Wüst, S., & Kudielka, B. M. (2019). Decision-making in everyday moral conflict situations: Development and validation of a new measure. PloS One, 14(4).

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