Conflict resolution is important when it comes to any successful relationship. It’s a crucial component of romantic relationships, friendships, familial relationships, and even workplace relationships.
However, it’s also something that’s often easier said than done.
No one likes conflict, but we all communicate differently and often have varying opinions on how to handle things.
So, what can you do to manage conflict in different areas of your life? While your approach might need to be adjusted depending on the relationship, let’s cover a few tips you can use almost anywhere to diffuse a disagreement and work through issues effectively and calmly.
1. Don’t Avoid It
Many people think they’re doing the right thing by avoiding conflict, but it can often make things worse.
It’s okay to have differences of opinion. It’s okay to disagree. If you’re able to argue the right way, your conflict can actually end up strengthening your relationship and helping you to understand the other person more.
Trying to avoid conflict will cause you to bottle things up, but emotions will always eventually demand to be felt!
2. Stay Calm
Conflicts tend to get out of hand when one (or both) people involved let their emotions get the best of them.
It’s not always easy to stay calm in a disagreement, but it’s the best way to work through it effectively and rationally.
If you need time to calm down, let the other person know. That doesn’t mean you’re avoiding the situation, it means you’re giving yourself (and them) time to cool off and think about things before talking.
3. Be an Active Listener
It’s understandable that you want to get your point across when you’re disagreeing about something. However, if you fight to be heard without listening, nothing will ever move forward.
Choose to be an active listener by giving the other person your full attention, using nonverbal responses, and asking questions to validate their thoughts and feelings.
4. Realize the Person Isn’t the Problem
Just because you’re in conflict with someone about a particular situation or subject doesn’t mean you’re in conflict with them as a person.
If you’re arguing with a romantic partner, friend, family member, or even a co-worker, it’s important to remember that you’re on the same team. You might even want the same things, but you each have different approaches as to how to get there. Looking at things from that perspective can help you separate the person from the problem, and, therefore, be more willing to work together.
In looking at people this way, you’ll also be less likely to bring up past issues that have nothing to do with the situation at hand. Bringing up old “hurts” never accomplishes anything. Stay focused on the present and the current conflict.
5. Agree to Disagree
The best thing you can do when a conflict arises is to find a solution. That might require compromise, or one person realizing they were in the wrong.
However, some situations might not have a solution that goes one way or another. You have to be okay with agreeing to disagree. It doesn’t mean your relationship, professional or otherwise, has to be tainted.
When you agree to disagree, you’re also agreeing to move forward with no hard feelings. It’s a productive way of dealing with conflict that allows everyone involved to cool down and realize it’s okay to have differing opinions.
Conflict is never fun to deal with. However, it doesn’t need to be damaging or as stressful as you might think. Keep these conflict resolution tips in mind the next time a disagreement happens in your life, and you’ll be better equipped to handle it peacefully and effectively.
If you’re still having a hard time dealing with conflict or you want to work on your resolution skills, feel free to contact Integrative Psychotherapy Group for more information.