Six Tips to Help You Deal With Conflict

If it's difficult for you to face conflict and you prefer to avoid it, here are six tips to help you deal with it.
Six Tips to Help You Deal With Conflict

Last update: 14 May, 2022

Many of us don’t like conflict, as we tend to associate it with negative experiences, arguments, deception, resentments, humiliation, etc. However, if we take a closer look, the problem isn’t the conflict itself, but the way in which we respond to it.

Basically, a conflict is a confrontation between opposites. It occurs in a situation where two or more people with different interests confront each other. Nevertheless, our discomfort toward conflict doesn’t emerge from our own tension, but rather from the idea we have about what the other person should do or how they should behave in relation to our assertions.

As an example, you might avoid dealing with conflict due to fear or anxiety about getting involved in uncomfortable situations. Or, you might try to avoid it because you feel insecure or unable to assert your interests or who you are. On the other hand, you might feel inferior or have had unpleasant experiences with previous confrontations.

Regardless of the reasons why you avoid conflict, not facing it doesn’t make it disappear, nor does it resolve it. As a matter of fact, it may even get worse. This avoidance, in addition to not fixing anything, prevents you from continuing to grow, because adversity and conflict are necessary to do so.

So what can be done to help you deal with conflict and prevent it from further affecting your personal growth? We’ll tell you.

An angry couple who can't stop avoiding conflict.
Avoiding conflict generates discomfort and frustration.

1. Be open to conflict

If you want to stop avoiding and start dealing with conflict, open yourself up to it. This becomes possible when you stop disregarding others’ points of view. Opening up means not remaining inside your protective bubble with your eyes closed. It means taking the blindfold off your eyes, popping your bubble, and observing what’s happening. Ask yourself:

  • What’s the conflict about?
  • How did it start and what’s keeping it going?
  • What am I trying to avoid?
  • How do I feel about the conflict?

The purpose of your questioning is so that you can observe and open yourself up to the conflict. In fact, the mere act of observing and describing is the first step toward approaching the problem and subsequently finding its solution.

2. Connect with the conflict

Once you open yourself up to the conflict, you need to bond with it. Indeed, in order to deal with it, you need to connect to all the unpleasant sensations it generates. For instance, fear, anguish, and feelings of discomfort. Take another look at it and experience it without putting up unnecessary resistance. That’s because this could aggravate it further. Ask yourself:

  • What emotion am I feeling?
  • How is my body reacting to the conflict?
  • What thoughts cross my mind when I think of the conflict?
  • What is the conflict asking of me?

It isn’t easy to open up and connect with your conflicts. Nevertheless, it’s necessary if you want to deal with them. By opening up, you allow yourself to face the conflict. You’re not running away from it. In fact, by connecting with it, you get closer to it.

3. Face your insecurities and fears

After opening up and connecting with the conflict, identify the obstacles in your path of growth. Insecurity, anxiety, fear of abandonment, dependency, and feelings of inferiority are some of the reasons that might lead you to avoid conflict. If you can’t recognize your insecurities or don’t know how to deal with them, you can always seek the help of a psychologist.

Facing your fears doesn’t imply starting another conflict. It doesn’t mean you start fighting with yourself. It’s about recognizing your weaknesses and looking for constructive alternatives that allow you to reach a solution.

4. Express your interests assertively

Before expressing yourself and speaking up, it’s important that you know how to listen and be open to the ideas and interests of the other party. Then, you can express your point of view using assertive communication. In this way, the other person will know that you’re interested in their point of view. They’ll also recognize that you’re willing to talk without resorting to arguments, which would only make the conflict worse.

By expressing your interests, you’re asserting your rights and showing yourself and others that what you want, feel, and think is valuable. After all, a little self-esteem won’t hurt you, and defending your interests is never a waste of time.

Man talking to his partner
Failing to avoid conflict influences your dignity and self-esteem.

5. Don’t be too self-demanding

To deal with conflict, remember that you don’t have to know how to fix it. However, often, self-demands and ideas of perfection can lead you to avoid confrontation, especially when it goes against your idealizations. Indeed, if you have the belief that the conflict in itself is negative and that nothing can come of it then, naturally, you’ll avoid it.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and to fail when confronting another. As a matter of fact, these kinds of tensions will help you to recognize what you need to improve in order to continue getting closer to your goals. Remember that failures are a source of learning, so long as you know how to listen to their teachings.

6. Don’t think that confrontation is wrong

Defending your interests is neither good nor bad, as long as you do it assertively. To deal with conflict, it’s essential that you stop thinking that confronting others with your own ideas is wrong.

Opposing others because you don’t agree with them isn’t wrong. You must be clear that, whenever you enter into conflict, you must seek constructive solutions and generate assertive conversations. It’ll make you feel more confident in your communication.

Finally, when you’re able to deal with conflict, you’ll start to relate and face adversity from a position of compassion and acceptance. Indeed, learning to deal with it is necessary if you want to build a fulfilling life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Liu, Y., Xu, C., Kuai, X., Deng, H., Wang, K., & Luo, Q. (2022). Analysis of the causes of inferiority feelings based on social media data with Word2Vec. Scientific reports12(1), 1-9.
  • Zhou, Q., Mao, J. Y., & Tang, F. (2020). Don’t be afraid to fail because you can learn from it! How intrinsic motivation leads to enhanced self-development and benevolent leadership as a boundary condition. Frontiers in Psychology11, 699.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.