Conflict Management

Every relationship of any depth and breadth has conflict. No matter ho well you know someone or how compatible you are, conflict is bound to happen. Now, it may not necessarily be full-out fights, but arguments and differences of opinion will indeed happen. Two statistics have demonstrated the rate of this greatly: 81% of surveyors have admitted with conflicts with friends, while the other 19% who claim their relationships to be conflict-free acknowledged that disagreements and tensions in conversation have happened. Another statistic makes notification that college students have reported that they take part in about seven arguments per week.

Although it seem problematic to have conflicts, it is actually beneficial to the relationship. The trick is to handle them when they surface rather than trying to avoid problems. Effective communication during conflict actually strengthens relationships and makes them stronger.

There are five different methods to handle conflicts. The first of these is Avoiding, or the Lose-Lose scenario. This occurs when people nonassertively ignore the conflict. It can be physical, such as avoiding someone to not have an argument, or conversational by avoiding the topic or denying a problem. This method reflects a pessimistic attitude about the conflict by thinking that there is no good way to solve the situation so its better to just ignore it altogether. It’s considered a lose-lose because neither party is determined to win or benefit from this outcome. Although avoiding may keep problems resolved temporarily, it tends to lead to unsatisfying relationships. Avoiders have low concern for their own needs plus the needs of the other person. Avoidance is not always a bad thing, if the avoidment has logic behind it such as not to provoke to get in a physical fight or creating a scene in public. Sometimes its okay to let things go rather than bringing attention to all problems and flaws.

Accommodating, or Lose-Win, occurs when you allow others to have their own way rather than asserting your own point of view. Accommodaters have a low concern for themselves and a high concern for others. Accommodating is an important conflict management trait. It is seen as a genuine act of kindness or love to have someone sacrifice their preferences for someone else’s. Most of the time this type of trait is seen as others being weak or pushovers, the actions tend to be more out of care or n apathetic approach rather than being a pushover to problems.

Competing, which can end either in Win-Lose or Lose-Lose, can happen when members of a party compete to get their way with the results of a conflict. People tend to resort to competing when situations tend to be an either/or: either I get what I want or you get what you want. This is the conflict outlook in many areas, like sporting events or elections. Despite this, competing can have a positive impact and enhance a relationship. In some intimate relationships, men and women found competition to enrich their interaction, such s playing sports together to deem a winner, or compare achievements. Although, this could backfire when competition turns to gloating or what the whole relationship ends up being centered around, turning it into a lose-lose relationship. Power is what makes the difference for how competing conflict management solutions itself.

Compromising, Partial Lose-Lose, gives each party member at least some of what they want, but they will have to sacrifice part of their intentions and goals. In many situations, compromising tends to be the best solution because each member of a party gets t least part of what they wanted, rather than fully losing. Striking a halfway deal with negotiation is usually a good go-to management style. Sometimes this can be seen as a bad solution, though. Compromise can come off being a negative term because instead of working toward the best result of the problem, people settle and don’t get everything they want, rather than having everyone win. Most of the time, all persons involved come out of this situation favorably, because they didn’t necessarily lose.

Collaborating, the Win-Win solution, ends in a way that everyone in the party wins. People involved have a high degree concern for themselves and others, and don’t like to lose partial anything when they want both sides to win. Collaborators do not look at solutions as “my way” or “your way”, but rather “our way”. The goal of the collaboration is to find a solution that satisfies the needs of everyone involved and working together to get to that solution. Although collaboration might not work for every solution, it’s a goal to work towards to leave everyone satisfied and happy.

There are several factors for determining which conflict style works best for which situation. Relationship, situation, the other person, and your personal goals tend to sway some styles from others. There are situations when you want to win, like getting a better grade from a teacher that gave you one lower than what you thought you deserved, or deciding with another person on what movie to go see. It’s best to overview the scenario before deciding which one to use—you wouldn’t go to get your grade raised by avoiding the situation and not handling it at all. Picking the management style is just as important as getting to the solution of a conflict or argument.

 The Disney Lesson


Nani and Lilo from Lilo and Stitch have an interesting relationship: despite that they’re sisters, Nani has become a motherly figure to Lilo. Due to their parents dying in a car accident, Nani has taken over the role of a guardian in order to keep their family together and not have Lilo taken away for foster care. Because of this switch in roles, much conflict has ensued between the two sisters. In some cases, Nani needs to act like an older sister and let Lilo win, like getting a dog or other sacrifices we make for younger family members. In other situations, Nani needs to take on the role of a parent and have responsibility and discipline towards Lilo who is now a child in her care. This complicated situation they are involved in have lead to having to use all forms of conflict management. There is not one particular style that a person can try to relate to all different scenarios—its necessary to apply the correct ones to the correct situations. If Nani always tried to collaborate with Lilo on everything, there would be no structure in the household. It’s not a bad thing to sometimes aim to win or lose.


Naveen, a prince from The Princess and the Frog was turned into a frog by a curse. Tiana, a waitress trying to work towards opening her own restaurant, discovers Naveen in frog form. Thinking that if Tiana kissed him he would turn back into a human—like in the story The Frog Prince—they collaborate so that if Tiana kisses her, he would give her the funds to open her restaurant. Despite the plan sounding flawless, once Tiana kissed Naveen, she actually turned into a frog herself. Sometimes there are conflicts that no matter how hard we try to reach an agreement and have everyone win, there can be situations that arise that end up in a lose-lose scenario. The important part is to not get discouraged by this and look at conflict in an avoiding manner. We need to persevere to aim for solutions that fit perfectly to out needs, not problems that we look at with no solutions.


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