If you’ve hurt the other person, take responsibility for your actions and be prepared to apologize before discussing how to move forward. Fear of negative evaluation is when a person avoids conflict because they are afraid of being seen in a negative light. They may believe that they will be judged, criticized, or rejected if they engage in conflict. We may begin to feel anxious, defensive, or even angry.

You might also consider asking a third party, such as your boss, to help mediate the dispute, or consider formal mediation. Think through—and perhaps write down—the best way to cope with a conflict before reaching out to the other person or people involved. In particular, to get a broader perspective, consider how your actions—or inaction—might be affecting them. “If you want to confront a friend who never pays you back, you can either send them friendly reminders via email or in person saying, ‘By the way, do you have the $100 that I lent you last week?'” she says. To avoid a potentially awkward situation, tell the person you’d like to keep in touch.

Look for a compromise or agree to disagree, and remember that there’s not always a “right” or a “wrong,” and that two points of view can both be valid. Hosted by therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, featuring couples therapist Jenn Mann, shares the communication mistakes that most couples make and how to work through them. This seems to be the less stressful route—avoiding an argument altogether—but usually causes more stress to both parties as tensions rise, resentments fester, and a much bigger argument eventually results. Conflict is an inevitable part of life and is not something that you need to avoid. You can assert yourself respectfully by explaining yourself clearly in a calm way. Illustrate your ideas with examples and make a point of acknowledging other people’s ideas as well.

  1. “Avoiding conflict can compromise our resilience, mental health, and productivity in the long term,” writes Andrew Reiner for NBC News.
  2. As you grieve, it’s important to remember that even though the closeness you want to have with a sibling, parent, or partner may never happen, this does not mean you cannot have a relationship.
  3. So, if you started thinking differently about voicing your opinion and seeing it as a positive thing with a positive outcome, you’d be much more likely to do it and stop avoiding.
  4. Often, grieving the loss of who you thought a person was and the relationship you wish to have (but can’t) is an important component of the healing process.
  5. Do they have empathy, and do they listen and validate your position?

Conflict can help you identify and resolve problems with your co-workers in the workplace. Regardless of the reason, it can help to identify the root of your fears first so you can have more honest conversations with your partner. Perhaps you could suggest marking off a day each week where the two of you engage in quality time together. You could even ask if your partner would consider inviting you to the events they are going to. As long as you and your partner are committed to bettering the relationship and communicating with one another with respect, there is nearly always a path forward. Conflict avoidance, therefore, often leads to a larger confrontation down the road.

Assertive communication is a style of communication based on honesty, respect, and confidence. Assertiveness is the ability to express feelings and thoughts openly and to directly defend your rights while respecting the rights of others. It is about taking care of your own needs and wants while considering the needs and wants of others. It is the ability to take responsibility without being controlling. Assertiveness is the balanced space between surrender and aggressiveness.

Working with People Who Avoid Conflict

This website utilizes various technologies that are meant to make it as accessible as possible at all times. We utilize an accessibility interface that allows persons with specific disabilities to adjust the website’s UI (user interface) and design it to their personal needs. Psychological safety may be particularly what are sober living homes important for flighters, because it helps avoid triggering the fight-or-flight instinct that so often pushes these people to clam up, shut down, hide out or acquiesce. Safety opens the door to reasonable, collaborative and evolved responses. And that makes for a more harmonious and productive workforce.

In a relationship, this can look like going silent on a partner, changing the subject, or enduring uncomfortable situations instead of expressing issues openly. People who respond to conflict this way often expect negative outcomes and find it difficult to trust the other person’s reaction. Lashing out at your mom for that condescending thing she said? Feeling guilty that you’re avoiding your dad because he drives you crazy?

More tips for managing and resolving conflict

Boundaries are the limits and rules you set for yourself and others in your interactions. They reflect your values, preferences, and expectations and help you define what is acceptable or unacceptable for you. Boundaries help individuals establish limits and protect their emotional and physical well-being. Without boundaries, individuals may not feel safe or secure in their relationships or environments. Conflict resolution is a way for two or more parties to find a peaceful solution to a disagreement among them.

Conflict Resolution Skills

Sometimes a couple needs to be able to disagree to work through an issue and solve the problem together. When you can’t do this with your mate, it may leave you feeling like things are unfair. A 2021 study points out that communication is a top issue for couples and can make them feel unsatisfied. This is why it is so important to be able to communicate with each other, even if you have to learn how to do so.

How to set boundaries and act assertively in conflict.

Be open to compromise and ask other people to elaborate on their opinions to gain new insight. Of all of the negative things you can do and say during a conflict, the worst may be contempt. Gottman has found that it is the top predictor of divorce.3 Contemptuous remarks are those that belittle your partner. It can also include nonverbal behavior like rolling your eyes or smirking. Such behavior is extremely disrespectful, and implies that you’re disgusted with your partner. Author Natasha Bowman, JD, SPHR, noticed that her behavior changed as she dealt with the responses of family members and friends to her bipolar diagnosis.

Plus, avoidance also led to increased emotional exhaustion. There’s a reason you or your partner is conflict avoidant and that reason deserves some empathy! Conflict avoiders have learned this way of being and there’s a basis or motive for these actions. For example, if your partner is the conflict avoider, it’s important to remember that they’re not avoiding you, they’re avoiding some scary idea they have of what speaking their truth will mean. They see some yucky consequence for sharing their true thoughts and feelings so be as patient and compassionate as possible.

Caroline is very conflict avoidant and always tries to avoid conflict with her husband. She does this because she is afraid of being seen in a negative light. She worries that her husband will judge her, criticize her, or reject her if she engages in conflict.

The below tips can help you deal with an issue more assertively. One 2013 study found that bottling up our emotions can increase the risk of premature death, including death from cancer. I’ll teach you simple, actionable tools and strategies that you can use today to make your relationship the drinking at workplace best it’s ever been. The good news is that there are quick hacks to calm your brain and nervous system. For example, you can take a deep slow breath (which stimulates your vagus nerve and helps calm your nervous system). Jim and his wife are arguing about who will take the dog for a walk.

However, she also faults the employee for making the situation worse by running away from the problem. Eager for approval and fearful of angering or disappointing others, they refuse to stand up for themselves and may be too easily cowed. Remember to respect the person, is alcoholism genetic or hereditary even if you don’t like the behavior. If you decide to call an emergency number like 911, ask the operator to send someone trained in mental health, like Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) officers. Try to remain uncompetitive when approaching someone on the defense.


Of course, disagreements may be necessary, and when you can’t have these, you may feel like you are incompatible with your mate. However, there are ways that you can learn more about how to deal with conflict avoidant personality, so hang in there. There are a few reasons someone may be skilled at avoiding conflict in relationships. If you note any of these in your relationship, think about reading more about how to deal with a conflict avoidant spouse. They may act this way because they simply have a conflict avoidant personality, or they may have also been diagnosed with conflict avoidance disorder, also known as an avoidant personality disorder. Symptoms include not wanting to be social, being unable to accept criticism, and not taking risks.