Interpersonal Conflict Resolution: Beyond Conflict Avoidance Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School

If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on. Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive others. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can serve only to deplete and drain your life. Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worth your time and energy. Maybe you don’t want to surrender a parking space if you’ve been circling for 15 minutes, but if there are dozens of empty spots, arguing over a single space isn’t worth it.

  • Our brain, in effect, is hijacked and taken over by our reactions.
  • Conflict is a normal part of any healthy relationship.
  • If they could, they likely would; but in most cases, they are simply unable to because of their personality and emotional immaturity.
  • If you can get someone else thinking of something else and that helps them calm down physiologically, that is great,” notes Dr. Galasso.

The biggest obstacle to getting what I want is not what I think it is. It is not the difficult person on the other side of the table. It is the person on this side of the table—it is the person I look at in the mirror every morning. It is our natural, very human, very understandable tendency to react—often out of fear and anger. As writer Ambrose Bearce once quipped, when angry you will make the best speech you will ever regret. In this case, also the third parties that provide the widget will be informed of interactions and Usage Data on the pages where this service is installed.

The importance of communicating openly and honestly in your relationship

Others might try to change the topic or make peace without addressing the issue. They may also act passive-aggressive or resort to name-calling or insults. It seems paradoxical, but the best way to engage is to disengage—for a moment. It is counterintuitive, particularly in our world of instant communication, where quick reactions are expected. But most of the conflict situations we face call for the exact opposite. Just when (Any time?) you are tempted to react by attacking, avoiding, or appeasing, pause.

how to deal with someone who avoids conflict

They see some yucky consequence for sharing their true thoughts and feelings so be as patient and compassionate as possible. If you don’t understand what your partner is saying, don’t pretend you do; ask for more explanation. Placating someone to end conflict can make the other person feel manipulated and dismissed. Try to let go of a need to be the “good one” in the relationship and stay with the goals of closeness and understanding.

Effective Communication Strategies

But you wouldn’t want to give that up, nor likely would you give up the fact that you care so much about relationships. I mean, it’s tricky, because I do mostly focus on the negatives. And I think I try really hard to always maintain that relationship. And sometimes maybe relationships don’t need that much maintenance. And I’m wondering what you feel like you gained from being an avoider, or how it helps you.

how to deal with someone who avoids conflict

When you are in a romantic relationship, you likely want to feel comfortable speaking openly and honestly with your partner. When this open dialogue doesn’t occur, relationship satisfaction tends to decrease. Millions of readers rely on for free, evidence-based resources to understand and navigate mental health challenges. Please donate today to help us save, support, and change lives. If you’re holding on to grudges based on past conflicts, your ability to see the reality of the current situation will be impaired.

How to Deal with Someone who Avoids Conflict (Actionable Tips)

It can take 10 or more attempts at treatment before someone makes progress on overcoming an addiction. Did a night of excessive drinking leave cans or bottles littering your living room floor? “Don’t put yourself in danger,” stresses Dr. Anand. Caring about someone with an alcohol addiction can lead to worry and sleepless nights. You might spend a lot of time thinking about your actions as it relates to their addiction, says Dr. Anand.

how to deal with someone who avoids conflict

You know, what way am I contributing to the problem here? And try to open up my thinking, not necessarily to let the other person be right, but more as a way to just open up my mind so that I can learn in the discussion from the other person. After enrolling in a program, you may request a withdrawal with refund (minus a $100 nonrefundable enrollment fee) up until 24 hours after the start of your program. Please review the Program Policies page for more details on refunds and deferrals. This strategy works well when your care for your goal and the relationship are both moderate. You value the relationship, but not so much that you abandon your goal, like in accommodation.

It’s a strategic play to say, OK, if I understand where they’re coming from, I’m going to be able to better resolve this and ideally get what I need from the situation. Collaboration is ideal for most workplace conflicts. Goals are important, but so is maintaining positive relationships with co-workers. Promote collaboration whenever possible to find creative solutions to problems. If you can’t generate a win-win idea, you can always fall back on compromise.

Regulate your own emotions so that you can speak in a calm tone of voice with non-reactive language. Name calling and using absolute language like “you always do this” or “you never do that for me” puts the other person on defense and is counterproductive to what you’re trying to accomplish. Rather than coming across in an accusatory tone, open up the conversation with, “Hey, I was just wondering, is there anything I can do to be a better friend to you? ” With this question, you are essentially taking responsibility for your own actions first, which may have contributed to the other person’s offensive behavior. Depending on how close you are to this person, you might know your friend’s family dynamics and gain insight into their personality. Was your friend often insulted and humiliated by family members?

tips for overcoming conflict avoidance

If you see signs of alcohol and/or drug abuse, talk to an interventionist at New Method Wellness, a premier dual diagnosis treatment center which has received national recognition on Dr. Phil. Remembering all the good times you had with this person helps to defuse the ticking bomb inside you as you saturate your language with reassurance and comfort. Let the other person know how much you appreciate and value their relationship. If they know how much they mean to you, they will be more receptive to what you have to say, if you say it in a gentle and calm way.

At the same time, offering a listening ear doesn’t mean that you allow yourself to be mistreated. You can also effectively communicate by being assertive and letting the other person know what type of behavior you expect. Helping them to understand what you will and will not tolerate in the workplace, in the family dynamic, or in a relationship can create the boundaries that you need. The goal of the book is I try to lay out a road map for navigating uncomfortable situations so people don’t have to feel the stress and anxiety that they often feel with conflict. When I talk to people about how does a conflict make them feel, I hear words like, anxious, scared, afraid, stressed out, under-valued, misunderstood. You have to accept that that is just an unhealthy expression of emotion.

Jan Effective Ways to Approach a Conflict-Avoider without Running Them Off

Yet, according to coaching and training firm Bravely, 53 percent of employees handle “toxic” situations by avoiding them. Worse still, averting a difficult conversation can cost an organization $7,500 and more than seven workdays. Although the adverse impact of conflict avoidance can be seen across all genders in relationships, its effects can be particularly upsetting for women. A 2021 study, for instance, analyzed same-sex relationships and how they managed conflict during the COVID-19 pandemic.

how to deal with someone who avoids conflict