Is avoiding conflict always the best decision?

Is avoiding conflict always the best decision?

Some of the most common types of conflicts we will face in our lives are interpersonal conflicts. Interpersonal conflicts can happen between our family members, our partner, colleagues, or even strangers. We will all face this as a matter of course, even in our day to day interactions.

Especially with interpersonal conflicts, people have a tendency to want to avoid these types of conflicts for fear of causing long-term trouble and bad blood. Sometimes people just want to be liked and will avoid conflict for this reason. Sometimes it is out of fear of conflict that people avoid it.

In many cases, avoidance might be a good thing, but it should only be done with some care and consideration. For example, avoiding conflict with someone who is clearly angry or agitated might be the best course of action until they calm down. Once they calm down, it might be a good idea to talk with them again.

In some cases, avoidance can make things worse.

Stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety can often be the result of avoidance. When you avoid conflict, you’re withdrawing mentally and emotionally, and eventually you end up suppressing your own feelings and thoughts on the matter. It has long been known that suppressed emotions eventually leads to frustration, and a negative outcome in the long run. You might develop stress related conditions such as anxiety, fear of people, distrust of people, and resentment.

Passive aggressiveness
Avoidance can make you aggressive, in a different way. Passive aggressiveness is an indirect aggressive behaviour. Being avoidant, and unwilling to talk, or compromise are passive aggressive behaviours. These behaviours negatively affect the situation and can prolong conflicts and contribute to furthering the emotional distress of the situation. Sometimes, people who aren’t overly aggressive are passive aggressive. Though it does not present itself as extreme as direct aggression, passive aggressiveness can just as easily make a bad situation worse by undermining attempts to resolve the conflict.

One of the worst outcomes of avoidance is the resentment that grows out of it. This develops when you avoid dealing with conflicts, and you end up suppressing your thoughts and emotions. Instead of resolving these interpersonal issues, your frustrations build and eventually you start to resent the person. Once resentment sets in, it becomes incredibly difficult to resolve any issues with this person, and it creates an emotional distance that is hard to bridge.

At the end of the day, conflicts are a fact of life. Conflicts happen as a matter of course; but knowing how not to make things worse, and knowing how to resolve the situation are skills that everyone needs to be able to function properly and to their potential.

Join us at College of Allied Educators to learn more about your deepest emotions, and discover how you can help yourself and your loved ones overcome their fears, disappointments, and life challenges in order to build a more meaningful, and happier life.


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