Today was full of surprises and of small victories. I got to mediate with Kevin, my supervisor at N2N, for the first time this week. It was good to see his style of mediation and how the tools/tricks he uses differ from other N2N volunteers I have worked with previously. I was pretty sure our case wasn’t going to settle as the parties appeared to be VERY far apart on their issues until the very end when a compromise was reached. It was baffling to me how they made that switch but I was certainly pleased that they did.
I was reflecting back on my early experiences on small claims mediation and how eager I was to make sure parties reached an agreement in as many cases as possible. Honestly, for both this case and the one last time, I think I would have felt entirely satisfied if they HADN’T reached agreement. It was nice to notice my own “neutral indifference” to the parties’ outcomes. Some cases aren’t meant to be settled through mediation and some parties just aren’t ready to make steps towards reconciliation and that’s entirely OK. Although I might have been able to say that previously, I feel like I’m starting to actually understand and believe it now.