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Social Skill: Ways to Handle Conflict

Social Skill: Ways to Handle Conflict

Every one of us is different in our own ways and that makes each of us unique. However, these differences are also the cause why we encounter conflicts with other people. The differences between personalities, goals, beliefs, and desires give rise to conflict. We might feel some tension when someone stops us from doing what we want or if they did something that harms us. There are definitely many reasons why it happens. 

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In all walks of life,  It seems that conflict is inevitable. Even with people with whom we share a lot of things in common, at some point, we had to disagree with them. Whether it is receiving a late reply from a friend or arguing over religious beliefs—conflict happens. No one is impervious to experiencing it. 

Most of us tried to avoid conflict as much as possible. When we found ourselves in a heated argument, it often leaves us feeling discomfort, resentment, and all sorts of negative feelings. It is challenging to handle. On the contrary, we are also capable of handling conflicts. There are strategies we can use to mitigate and resolve them. 

Two psychologists posited that there are five unique approaches that we engage in to handle a conflict: accommodating, competing, collaborating, compromising, and avoiding. 


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Although this is not the best approach for solving a conflict, competing can be helpful sometimes. In practice, It means we have to pursue our own interests or needs at another person’s expense. This is used if the outcome is more important than the relationship. Moreover, competing is also effective when a decision needs to be made immediately. 


This is the conflict management style we can use to preserve our relationships with others. Accommodating means we have to sacrifice our own needs to find a middle ground with the other person. While accommodating might seem weak, this is a good choice when we don’t want to waste time arguing. For instance, if it’s a small conflict and you think you’re on the wrong side, then accommodating is necessary.  Using this approach might mitigate the conflict. 


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The avoiding approach might be necessary to implement when we need some time to reflect on the situation. This strategy can help us to cool down the situation.  Avoiding occurs when we don’t want to express our stance nor are willing to hear what the other person has to say. More importantly, avoiding helps us especially if the situation is threatening and withdrawing is the only way to protect ourselves. 

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Managing a conflict sometimes requires both parties to give up something. Compromising allows us to provide a solution that would be amenable to us and to others. This approach aims to reach a mutually-agreed solution to the problem at hand. Hence, if both are willing to adjust, this will solve the conflict and maintain harmony. 


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Both parties must be assertive and cooperative to achieve a win-win result in handling a conflict. In this approach, active listening, exploring alternative solutions, patience, and clear communication are crucial. In addition, collaboration leads to a conflict solution that satisfies everyone’s goals and concerns. We can incorporate this approach to preserving a good relationship with others while achieving a solution with a beneficial impact. 

We each have our own way of dealing with a conflict. However, knowing which approach to use in a specific situation increases the chances of attaining an effective solution. Also, when a conflict arises, keeping ourselves in check and managing our behavior carefully can actually become an opportunity for greater connection.

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