Whatever the cause of conflict at work or home, these skill sets can facilitate you in handling problems constructively and keeping your relationships strong and growing.
What is Confrontation?
Confrontation is a conflict element during which parties confront one another, directly engaging one another in the course of a dispute. A conflict can occur on any scale, between any number of people, entire nations or cultures, or between living things other than humans.
Best Tips to Deal with Confrontation
Do you avoid conflict as much as possible or fear it? If your perception of conflict stems from painful childhood memories or previous unhealthy relationships, you may expect all disagreements to result in tragedy.
If you’re afraid of conflict, it can become self-fulfilling. It’s difficult to deal with a problem in a healthy way when you enter a conflict situation already feeling threatened. Instead, you’re more likely to shut down or detonate in anger.
Healthy responses to Conflict
- The ability to understand another person’s point of view.
- Reactions that are calm, non-defensive, and respectful.
- A willingness to forgive and forget, as well as to move on from the conflict without harbouring resentments or anger.
- The capacity to seek compromise while avoiding punishment.
- A belief that confronting conflict head on is best for both parties.
Unhealthy responses to Conflict
- Inability to recognise and respond to what is important to the other person.
- Reactions that are explosive, angry, hurtful, and resentful.
- Rejection, isolation, shaming, and fear of abandonment result from the withdrawal of love.
- Inability to compromise or see the other person’s point of view.
- Due to the fear of conflict or avoiding it; expecting a negative outcome.
Conflict resolution, anxiety, and feelings
Conflict elicits strong emotions, which can result in hurt feelings, disappointment, and discomfort. When handled improperly, it can lead to irreparable rifts, resentments, and break-ups. However, when conflict is resolved in a healthy manner, it improves your understanding of the other person, fosters trust, and strengthens your relationships.
To successfully resolve a conflict, you must first learn and practise two fundamental skills:
- Quick stress relief
The ability to manage and relieve stress in the moment is essential for remaining balanced, focused, and in control, regardless of the challenges you face. If you don’t know how to stay centred and in control of yourself in conflict situations, you’ll become overwhelmed and unable to respond in healthy ways.
- Emotional awareness
Emotional awareness—consciousness of your moment-to-moment emotional experience—and the ability to manage all of your feelings appropriately form the foundation of a conflict-resolution communication process.
Emotional intelligence enables you to:
- Recognize what is really bothering other people.
- Understand yourself, including what is causing you the most trouble.
- Maintain your motivation until the conflict is resolved.
- Clear and effective communication
- Others’ interest and influence
Nonverbal communication and conflict resolution
When people are in the midst of a conflict, the words they use rarely convey the underlying issues. However, by paying close attention to the nonverbal signals or “body language” of the other person, such as facial expressions, posture, gestures, and tone of voice, you can better understand what the person is saying. This will enable you to respond in a way that fosters trust and gets to the heart of the issue.
More tips for managing and resolving conflict
You can make the process of managing and resolving conflict as positive as possible by following the guidelines below:
Pay attention to what is felt as well as what is said. When you truly listen, you connect more deeply to your own needs and emotions, as well as the needs and emotions of others. Listening also helps to strengthen, inform, and enable others to hear you when it is your turn to speak.
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Prioritize conflict resolution over winning or “being right.” Maintaining and strengthening the relationship should always take precedence over “winning” the argument. Respect the other person and their point of view.
Concentrate on the present moment. If you hold grudges from previous conflicts, you will be unable to see the reality of the current situation. Rather than focusing on the past and assigning blame, consider what you can do now to solve the problem.
Choose your battles wisely. Conflicts can be draining, so think about whether the issue is truly worth your time and energy. If you’ve been circling for 15 minutes, you may not want to give up a parking space, but if there are dozens of empty spots, arguing over a single space isn’t worth it.
Understand when to let something go. If you can’t agree on anything, agree to disagree. An argument requires two people to continue. If a conflict isn’t progressing, you can choose to disengage and move on.