"Conflict resolution is an important component of [the HR] roles," Walker said. "This doesn't preclude individuals who are uncomfortable with conflict from being successful. It just means that they will need additional training and support in this area." Amie M. Gordon, Ph.D., is a social psychologist at the University of Michigan whose research focuses on interpersonal relationships and well-being. Or maybe you begin by expressing why you haven’t mentioned your sadness over spending less time together. You could say you fear coming off as needy or high-maintenance (or whatever your fear might be), but that you still hope the two of you can work together to ensure both people are having their needs met in the relationship.

  • This type of conflict avoidance is dysfunctional because it is utilized to evade accountability in the relationship.
  • If the driver refuses and continues to drive fast, you can become more aggressive.
  • While he didn't respond (thus avoiding the conflict), I was able to briefly approach it in a way that felt right, but was then able to drop it — allowing us both the capacity to move past it.
  • Research shows that psychological safety encourages moderate risk taking and open communication, behaviors that may be particularly difficult for conflict-avoidant employees.
  • The approach-avoidance conflict can be divided into approach and avoidance motivation; conflict arises when both of them emerge simultaneously.

Rather than endlessly ruminate and allow conflicts to fester in your head, try taking a more assertive approach. Being aware of how your emotions impact you can help you gain a greater understanding of yourself and others. Before confronting someone, try examining and questioning your feelings. Disagreeing with someone doesn’t necessarily mean “fighting.” Keep in mind that it’s not about blaming the other person or proving who’s right and wrong in a given situation.

Psychology Research

You will deepen trusting relationships, develop new opportunities, and stop spending time and emotional energy avoiding conflict. This incident got me thinking about the way psychologists typically approach conflict resolution. It is common for us to talk about assertive communication, expressing feelings, and active listening — these are all skills designed to help people communicate their views and feelings and openly receive the views of another. Our thinking about conflict resolution is largely predicated on problem-solving and communication.

  • Then create a script, an actual text, that you can rely on when initiating a difficult conversation.
  • Different interpretations may also be due to something in the moment, such as getting upset with your partner for being late but not knowing that his boss stopped them on his way out of the office.
  • You will not feel compelled to run away from conflict but rather embrace it with confidence.
  • Before confronting someone, try examining and questioning your feelings.
  • The response to an aggressive behavior is the desire for revenge.

The passive person does not want to risk engaging in conflict by complaining about the meal. Nonassertive people can rationalize that it was their fault the steak was served incorrectly; they must have not made their order clear; or that it is not important because they don’t have to come back to the restaurant again. It can be dangerous to approach conflict if one, or both parties are aggressive or violent. As an example, the risk of harm to women in violent relationships is highest at the time of separation. It is important to carefully consider safety when deciding whether to approach or avoid conflicts. The approach-avoidance conflict can be divided into approach and avoidance motivation; conflict arises when both of them emerge simultaneously.

What is conflict avoidance a symptom of?

There are many reasons you may be engaging in conflict avoidant behavior in your relationship. Discovering the source of your fears surrounding confrontation can be a good place to begin overcoming the issue. This deficit may be fairly static so a person may need to avoid the constant ordeals. Instead, he or she may try reflecting on his or her absolute non-negotiables in the relationship.

Disagreements can cause significant stress, so it tends to be best to find ways to communicate with one another about the issue instead of letting a problem fester. Erin Leonard, Ph.D. is a practicing psychotherapist and the author of three books about relationships and parenting. Remember that disagreeing provides deeper understanding and makes it easier to connect with our friends, partners, and co-workers. Similarly, if you’re more comforted how to deal with someone who avoids conflict by smells, you can keep an essential oil on hand to take a quick whiff of when you’re feeling anxious. If you’re a visual person, for example, you can relieve stress by closing your eyes and imagining soothing images. Clearly define what you’d like to resolve before the confrontation and write down canned, factual responses to use when needed (“I worked late for the past 2 weeks while my co-worker didn’t turn in their share of the research”).

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