How To Deal With Conflict Effectively

(Photo: Rido/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Rido/Shutterstock)

Have you ever dated someone who ran for the hills at the tiniest indication of a disagreement? Or what about trying to complete an important work project with a partner who refuses to acknowledge possible conflicts of interest before it’s too late? Whether it is a romantic, business, or casual situation, conflict between two or more people is bound to happen. What really matters, is how you recognize, interpret, and resolve that conflict. While every situation is different, it is important to be able to understand that everyone sees things differently, and also be able to articulate your own point of view. Keep these 4 tips in mind, and you’ll be a master at nipping escalating conflicts in the bud.

Hear everyone’s side

It doesn’t matter how many people are involved, everyone is guaranteed to have at least a slightly different way of seeing things. When emotions get involved it is even more difficult to stay on the same page. Maybe your significant other is upset about how you handled a certain situation, but you thought you did just fine. Before you automatically decide you are right and they are wrong, hear them out. There are always multiple factors that lead to a reaction, and talking them out might actually extinguish a fight before it even starts. If you keep all your feelings to yourself, nothing will ever be resolved. Understanding why an argument is happening is the first step to coming to an agreement and moving on.

Keep your emotions in check

Sometimes your initial reaction to a conflict is too emotionally driven to be productive. It can be hard to separate your feelings from what your logical next steps should be. For example, if a friend at work has a reputation for being hard to work with, but you don’t see it until you have to work directly with them on a project, it might be hard to speak to them professionally about your concerns. There are certain situations (especially work ones) where emotions should be kept out of it. Keep everything in perspective, stay calm, and don’t accuse anyone of anything. If your coworker doesn’t feel personally attacked, than he is more likely to respond in a similar fashion.

Confront problems head on

If you can sense an issue arising, ignoring it will not make it go away. In fact, it might actually make it worse. Passive aggressive people are everywhere, don’t be one of them. If you have a problem, bring it up. Voice your opinion. Talk it out. By acknowledging said problem’s existence, you are giving it less power over you, because you will automatically feel better if you get it off your chest. If a coworker is doing something you don’t like, (making changes without running it by you first), they might not even realize it bothers you. Most people don’t go around creating problems for no reason, and if someone is, then that’s all the more reason to confront them about it. You can’t expect anything to change if you don’t actively do something to change it. So go ahead.

Stand your ground… but be willing to compromise

Effective conflict resolution may seem like a lot of listening to other people’s perspective and adapting, but your opinions are just as important as anyone else’s. The reality is, you can’t control how others deal with problems, and you are going to run into people who let their emotions take over, and bulldoze everyone around them. Your job is to not let that happen. Sure, there may be some situations where letting them get their way is the best way to go, but when something really matters to you, it is up to you to make sure the other person gets that. Communication is the key to guaranteeing everyone is satisfied with the outcome, because unfortunately mind reading is not likely to be an option any time soon.

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on AmongMen.com, 29secrets.com, therichest.com, and ELLECanada.com.  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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