A voluntary resolution of a dispute often hinges on the connection you have with the other side. Developing or enhancing your connection with the other side will go a long way to settling your dispute.
I would propose that settlement is nothing more than collaboration and joint problem solving. In the end, you want to be able to work together in a creative way to solve what ends up being a common problem. People rarely want to work together when they are being bullied, insulted or ordered around.
Building a connection starts first with communication and sharing information. What life experiences, interests, values, and ideas do you share? You would be surprised how much each in common there is between us, all it takes is to ask and share.
While you do not need to become the best of friends, you can certainly at the very least develop a level of mutual respect. With respect, admiration, and even friendship, there is nothing that you cannot resolve. Under these circumstances, you are willing to help the other and vice versa. This is the essence of working towards collaboration.
As lawyers our natural instinct is to argue the facts and law, while ignoring the relationship. If you want to solve problems, solve the people first. Work on the facts and the law later. I think you might be surprised at how much easier it will be to reach an agreement this way.
Speaking of connection, my first newsletter, "The Mindful Minute" is being released. As the name suggests, it should take you only 60 seconds or less to read the monthly newsletter. I hope you all enjoy the single update, resource, and tip in each newsletter. You can find the newsletter, and check out other publications that I have written in the Publications page.