Are you a conflict avoider? (Like me?)

  • Do you rehearse how to say that hard thing to your coworker or close friend, but then you don’t bring it up?
  • When someone wants to ‘have a serious talk’ do you find an excuse to leave the scene?
  • Do you ever notice how quiet your partner is, but turn on the game anyway?

Sound familiar? You’re one of us!

Of course there’s a big downside to this strategy. Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t usually go away when you ignore it, and you find yourself stuck in some very uncomfortable spots. But going toward the difficult person or conversation feels risky—you might screw up, hurt someone’s feelings, or be rejected or attacked. No one taught you the skills—what do you say and how do you say it? Avoiding the conflict or escaping the relationship is so much easier. In the long run that road leads to stuckness, resentment, escalation, alienation, and loss. Are you motivated to try a different way yet? Let Conflict Coach show you how.

The payoffs of leaving your comfort zone to talk to someone about a problem are profound. You may say what you really want and–surprise!–receive it. You may find your way to a win-win solution, which lands you both in a place that is relatively peaceful and positive. You may open new levels of communication and gain a better understanding of how you each feel and what you need, and how it’s both different and the same. This is how you make relationships better, by going through things, especially conflicts, and meeting on the other side. This is how people grow, gain self knowledge, reduce fear, and develop new levels of empathy and compassion. How does that sound, for pros of changing your strategy when you feel like running away?

Conflict and change are inextricably intertwined. Change causes conflict, as you well know if you’ve ever tried to make changes in a relationship or an organization. And the flip side is that conflict causes change—really, there’s no other way. If you want to change your situation, relationship, family, or organization, you will have to make moves, the moves will cause countermoves, and then you gotta move into the conflict, and through it. Conflict is both the danger and the opportunity, the threshold to a different future.