Conflict is a part of life…

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Experiencing conflict is a part of everyday life. It happens at work between co-workers; it happens at home between family members, and it happens in social settings between friends. Many people have a negative definition in mind when it comes to the word, and they certainly don’t want to deal with it. But, did you know that some types of conflict can actually be beneficial? Healthy conflict can lead to better relationships, increased confidence, greater respect from others, career development, and harmony within your office or home.

A common response to conflict is avoidance. Most people say they just don’t like confrontation …it makes them uncomfortable and sometimes, unnecessary emotions can come to the surface. How, then, can you become more proficient with the skill of confrontation while keeping your emotions in check?

Realize that most people would prefer to just avoid the situation.

Maybe it will just go away. The discomfort is natural. Don’t let that feeling make you a victim.

Issues become more difficult with time.

Problems are much easier to resolve if you address them early.

Recognize your triggers and patterns.

If you don’t like conflict, you may find yourself becoming quiet, sulking, or demonstrating non-verbal signals which may only fuel the fire. Stand or sit upright. Make eye contact and speak in a confident tone. This helps demonstrate that you aren’t going to simply become prey to an overbearing personality.

Confront the issue – not the person.

Begin by using “I” statements instead of “you” statements. For example, “I need you to…” versus “You need to…” It makes it less personal.

Practice your responses.

If you find yourself in a situation where you think, “I wish I would have said…” practice your response and use it the next time around. If you have a person in your workplace that uses passive-aggressive remarks, respond by asking, “I heard you say ________. Can you help me understand what you mean by that?” It offers the person a chance to clarify their statement, and at the same time, it lets them know that you are not afraid to address their comments.

There are times when confronting an issue is just the right thing to do.

Maybe you have made a mistake and need to acknowledge it. Doing so demonstrates integrity and can help you further your relationships.

Concentrate on how good you will feel after the issue is addressed.

Even if you don’t like the conflict, getting it out in the open and hopefully resolved should provide a sense of relief and help to reduce anxiety.

If you already dislike conflict, you probably always will. You may not choose conflict or confrontation — nor is it appropriate — for every situation. It will not work every time and may even occasionally cause issues. But, when you practice, you’ll feel more comfortable with it. And eventually, you’ll become better at it. Believe it or not, conflict management can be an invaluable tool leading to greater self-esteem, personal growth, and better relationships.

Need to learn how to keep your cool in conflict? Click here. Want to learn about healthy conflict? Listen to this!