Mediation is Finding Common Ground

Mediation is Finding Common Ground

Mediation is more than two people just talking about what they believe is right or wrong.  It is a process of each telling their view of events, presenting facts and then listening to what the other party has to say.  It’s a sharing of feelings and point of view.  Each person hears how the other sees the situation.  It allows an opening of possibilities that can lead to resolution. Laura and Bill (not their real names) came to mediation to resolve a dispute regarding back rent and a broken lease.  Bill needed a room to rent while attending school.  He was anxious to find an affordable place near his college.  Laura had a room open in her house and Bill was excited to find something in the right location.  Prior to this his commute had been quite long and tiring.  He was happy to have a private bath and a shared kitchen. The terms of the lease were written in a contract which both parties reviewed together.  Bill believed he had found the right situation for himself and Laura now had all her rooms filled.  Bill paid several months’ rent in advance convinced he would be there through the entire year.  Unfortunately, before the first month had passed Bill became unhappy with the arrangements.  He felt that Laura had not disclosed all the circumstances of the living arrangements.  He was feeling the lack of privacy and too much traffic in and out of the house.  He soon realized he’d made a mistake and wanted out of the lease. Bill approached Laura with his concerns, requesting to be let out...

Thoughts about My Volunteer Experience at JCMS

Having trouble talking with family members, co-workers, neighbors, HOA reps or even your friends at church doesn’t mean you need to hold a grudge or store up all that resentment.  The growing number of professional mediators in Colorado offers you a valuable option.  Mediators can work with both parties to help sort out the issues that are driving the problems.  One important thing that helps people move toward resolution is simply being given the opportunity to express how they feel about a situation.  Just because people feel differently or see a situation differently does not make one right and the other one wrong.  A good mediator allows both parties to express their viewpoints and to find common ground.  Not all mediations end with the parties’ singing Kumbaya together, but frequently people gain hope and a sense of satisfaction. I’ve been volunteering my time with the Jefferson County Small Claims court for 2 ½ years.  I’ve seen many more successes than failures.  When a person starts talking and listening to the other party, they often experience a certain “aha” moment, and realize that the other person might be seeing the same situation differently.  They can then negotiate, and sometimes both parties end up feeling great about the outcome.  Other times they come to an agreement that may not be exactly what they wanted, but it’s better than ending up with nothing.  I’ve seen both parties willing to compromise because they simply want to put the experience behind them. The rewarding experiences for me are those moments of simply watching people work through their differences together.  It’s not always easy or...