Learn to Resolve the 7 Most Common Types of Conflicts

August 13, 2019

Resolving common types of conflicts is one of the most important skills which can prevent the most headaches. Wherever there are two human beings present, there will be conflict. This isn’t because people are bad or have the intention of creating problems. Simply, conflicts are produced because two people will never think exactly alike.

Healthy relationships aren’t those who lack conflict. It’s not all about avoiding disagreements, it’s about resolving them. That’s where the true secret to good coexistence lies. And it’s not that difficult to accomplish, if you put your mind to it. It’s enough to have the willpower, patience, capacity for comprehension and to be willing to not get stuck in the differences. So don’t overthink them.

“First, listen. Give your opponent the chance to speak. Let them finish. Don’t put up resistance, defend yourself or argue. This will only erect barriers between you. Try to build bridges of comprehension.”
-Dale Carnegie-

Some types of conflict are more frequent than others. Below we will make a list of the most common problems, ones which are worth learning how to resolve in order to lead a tranquil life with healthier and more fluid relationships.

1. Resolving conflicts due to misunderstandings or mistaken perceptions

This is one of the most common type of conflicts. They arise when there’s a failure in the communication between two people. The ones involved don’t have all the information about something, or have misrepresented information, or they interpret it in a wrong way. This gives way to prevention, discomfort or resentment.

lady with paint strokes across face

In order to resolve this type of conflict, the best thing to use is frank and direct dialogue. If you notice that someone suddenly becomes hostile and you don’t know why, the best thing to do is ask them about it directly. And the same thing goes for the opposite case. If something is bothering you, the ideal thing would be for you to express it openly and respectfully. Many great problems can be avoided by using assertive communication.

2. By a disagreement that is not addressed

Sometimes hostility between two people is constant and insidious. It could be that one of them criticizes everything the other person does or says. Or it could be that they are always non-conforming or bothered. That way, both of the individuals have the impression that there is a constant discomfort or unease.

What’s most likely in these cases is that there’s a substantive conflict that hasn’t been acknowledged. And that great problem translates into small everyday and constant clashes. If you want to resolve a situation like this, the first step is to identify what’s behind all of this. Then, it’s a must to confront that difficulty with the other person without leaving aside your mutual sincerity or respect.

3. Due to contrary interests

It’s what is commonly referred to as “a conflict of interests”. It occurs when the needs of one person clash with the needs of another. For example, when a domestic task or chore must be performed, and the people potentially responsible for it both want to rest instead of doing it.

In these cases, the problem can only be resolved if a path towards a fair negotiation is established. This means that both of the parties involved must yield. Yet, both of them must obtain some kind of profit or benefit. It’s not that hard to achieve if the people involved accept that “a bad agreement is better than a good fight”.

4. Due to different values or beliefs

This type of conflict can also be included in the group of the most common. In truth, it doesn’t appear because two people think differently. It only becomes a problem when one, or both, of them try to impose their beliefs onto the other person and/or disqualify what they think.

fox with bee on his nose

Generally, this occurs with religious or political beliefs. In either case, there tends to be an eagerness to proselytize. That is to say, an interest in “recruiting” the other person to their cause or group. In order to resolve this type of issue, it’s enough to simply admit that the respect for the free conscience of one’s peers is a guarantee that others should also respect what I think.

5. Resolving conflicts of power

Power is a source of permanent conflict. He who holds it is a target of all sorts of criticism, some with good intentions and some not. He who doesn’t hold power receives its effects and oftentimes feels that he is being negatively affected by it. There is always tension within the framework of power.

In order to resolve conflicts of power, the best thing to do is propose mechanisms which will make it horizontal. That is to say, to generate spaces to listen to and attend to those who don’t hold power. This doesn’t only apply to those who exert great shares of power, but also to those who exert power within a family, school, workplace, etc.

6. Caused by intrapersonal difficulties

Intrapersonal difficulties refer to conflicts which take place within the mind of an individual. This means that in reality there is no external problem. Yet, the individual does perceive it this way. This happens when, for example, someone who suffers from anxiety doesn’t tolerate when others perform tasks slowly.

woman with picture for face

Those close to the person affected by an intrapersonal problem should kindly inform them of the situation. Most of the time they are not even aware of it. Sometimes you must simply try to make them see that there is no real conflict. If this is done serenely and respectfully, there will probably have a magnificent effect.

7. Due to incompatible personalities

This is the kind of conflict in which there is simply “no chemistry”. For one reason or another, one individual struggles to accept another. It’s a type of generic antipathy which isn’t caused by anything in particular. In these cases, you may succumb to the temptation of expressing this tension through continuous gestures of rejection.

While it’s true that “you don’t have to like everyone”, it’s also true that we have no right to reject someone for simply being who they are. Maybe this other person’s traits are complementary to ours, and we haven’t noticed it. Maybe we should simply get some prudential distance and treat the other person with the consideration they deserve.

In general, conflicts can always be resolved through assertive communication. This doesn’t mean an overlapping or falsely polite conversation. It’s more about approaching the problem directly, with tranquility and with respect for the other person. If you know how to communicate properly, you’ll like prevent conflicts before even having to resolve them.