Conflict Resolution Skills
Conflict is a normal, and even healthy, part of relationships. Two people can’t be expected to always agree on everything. Since relationship conflicts are inevitable, learning to deal with them in a healthy way is crucial. When conflict is mismanaged, it can harm the relationship. But when handled in a respectful and positive way, conflict provides an opportunity for growth and strengthens the bond between two people. By learning the skills, you need for successful conflict resolution, you can keep your personal and professional relationships strong and growing.
Responses to Conflict
Do you fear conflict or avoid it at all costs? If your perception of conflict comes from painful memories from early childhood or previous unhealthy relationships, you may expect all disagreements to end badly. You may view conflict as demoralizing, humiliating, or something to fear. If your early life experiences left you feeling powerless or out of control, conflict may even be traumatizing for you.
Healthy responses to conflict:
- A belief that resolution can support the interests and needs of both parties
- Recognizing and responding to important matters
- Calm, non-defensive, and respectful reactions
- Willingness to forgive and move forward past the conflict
- Ability to compromise and avoid punishing
Unhealthy responses to conflict:
- Expectation of bad outcomes
- Fear and avoidance of conflict
- Inability to recognize the importance of matters to the other person
- The withdrawal of love, resulting in rejection, isolation, shaming, and fear of abandonment
- Explosive, angry, and hurtful reactions
The ability to successfully resolve conflict depends on your ability to:
- Manage stress quickly while remaining alert and calm. By staying calm, you can accurately read and interpret verbal and nonverbal communication.
- Pay attention to the feelings being expressed as well as the spoken words of others.
- Control your emotions and behavior. When you’re in control of your emotions, you can communicate your needs without threatening, intimidating, or punishing others.
- Be aware of and respect differences. By avoiding disrespectful words and actions, you can almost always resolve a problem faster.
Therapy & Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution skills can be tricky to learn if you’re used to responding to situations a certain way. A qualified therapist can help you build healthy conflict resolution skills to strengthen the relationships in your personal and professional life.