art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time

Avoiding Interpersonal Conflict

We all have ways that we manage conflict that we have learned over time. It is often the case that at least one of our conflict management styles seems to be dominant and reflects the default approach we take under stress. Our way of engaging in conflict of course, depends on the person and what we are experiencing from and about him or her and the situation. Also, the timing, our mood at the time, the impact of the dispute on us and each other and other factors all enter in to determine how we interact and respond. Avoiding conflict is one choice we have and sometimes it works as the optimum approach. Other times, we avoid conflict to our detriment.

If we face conflict head on, the result may be a resolution of the issues, or a better understanding of what happened, or reconciliation of the relationship. However, we don’t know that or if the outcome will meet our hopes and needs. The unknown can create unsettled feelings that support any tendency to avoid. Ultimately though, the results of avoiding conflict typically lead to a void filled with unsettled feelings. Examining when and why we avoid conflict is a helpful exercise in the quest for conflict mastery. Here are this week’s questions about this topic:

  • Under what circumstances do you avoid conflict?
  • What is it about these circumstances that results in your decision to avoid conflict?
  • What do you gain from avoiding conflict at these times that you haven’t yet mentioned?
  • What are the disadvantages for you when you avoid?
  • What are the upsides and downsides for the other person?
  • What emotions do you experience about yourself, the situation and the other person when you avoid conflict?
  • What other approach or approaches to conflict may work more effectively for you rather than avoiding?
  • In what way(s) would that work better for you?
  • How would that work for the other person?
  • What may concern you about taking this approach?

Any other comments and/or what other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may elicit increased awareness on this topic?

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