How to behave in a conflict?

How to manage and resolve conflicts

A conflict is a clash between two or more people because of incompatibility of interests, needs or values. Conflicts occur all the time, and you should not be afraid of them. In psychology, conflict is considered to be one way of developing relationships, and it has many useful functions.

How conflict is useful

Resolution of contradictions.

For example, your friend is constantly late, and you have to wait for him for a long time. As long as you don’t state your dissatisfaction, he will think everything is fine. If you say you do not like it, a conflict arises. As a result, the circumstances will change: either you will stop waiting for the unpunctual comrade, or he will learn to respect your time.

In order for the contradictions to be resolved safely, it is desirable to reveal them as early as possible. As a rule, the sooner the conflict happened, the better.

The depth of the relationship

When people get closer, sooner or later they will find a reason to disagree. By expressing disagreement and resolving the resulting conflict, people get to know each other better, and the relationship deepens. If you strive to always be good and not show your dissatisfaction, the interaction remains superficial.


It is often in conflict that a person is clearly aware of what he or she needs and what the opponent needs. In addition, in a conflict it is easier to understand oneself. For example, to know whether you are for or against tolerance, how you feel about injustice, and so on.


Conflict helps to find friends and allies. For example, when your classmate teased you in secret and no one noticed. When you openly rebelled and demanded to stop, it turned out that he was bothering not only you. Now, united, you can together confront the aggressor.

However, any conflict will do harm, not good, if you run it. Sometimes emotions reach such heights that it is very difficult to restore peace, or the parties turn to violent methods. It happens that a conflict brings great moral and material losses. For example, you find out that a person you trusted is cheating on you. But if you act correctly during the conflict, this can be avoided.

How to behave during a conflict


This is the most effective style of behavior in conflict. It also requires the most effort from the participants. It implies that the parties defend their interests, take into account the needs and desires of their opponents, and find a suitable solution for all.


Unlike cooperation, in a compromise, each party gives up some of their interests and needs in order to come to an agreement. For example, you and a friend choose how to spend a weekend: he wants to go to a museum, and you to the movies. After discussing, you decide to go to an interactive exhibition. You both have abandoned your plans and worked out a compromise.


Evasion, like accommodation, is not the best style of behavior in a conflict. You are not solving the problem, interacting with others, or having a new and useful experience.


To accommodate is to act cooperatively with the other party, but not to assert your interests in order to keep the peace.

In other cases, adjustment usually results in the person feeling victimized, ceasing to enjoy communication, or becoming angry. Often in such cases, conflict still arises, but for less important reasons. To prevent this from happening, seek cooperation or compromise.

Rules for resolving any conflict

Ask two questions: “What do those involved in the conflict want?” and “Why do they want it?”

There are always certain needs behind the goals in conflict. For example, a classmate is trying to cheat on your tests, and you are angry about it. His goal is to get a good grade, but his need is not to feel inferior, inferior. Understanding this, together you can find a mutually satisfying solution: let him cheat, or help him pull up the subject.

  • Seek to understand the other person’s point of view
  • Acknowledge your mistakes so he/she feels you are willing to cooperate.
  • Keep calm and help calm the other party
  • Focus on the problem, not the personal qualities of the participants
  • Create a climate of trust through communication and information exchange
  • Show sympathy and listen with respect to the other side’s opinion

Conflict resolution techniques

The self-expression

Consists of three parts:

  1. Description of the situation that is causing the negative feelings. “When you take my things without permission…”
  2. Description of the feelings caused by the situation. “…I get the feeling that I’m not being considered.”
  3. A description of what you would like. “I wish you would always ask permission.”

All three parts must contain an evaluation of the situation, not the opponent, or the I-speech won’t work. In addition, it is important to maintain a neutral tone. Practice composing self-statements with your friends, describing your problems and relationship needs.

Gradually reduce tension.

A technique helps increase trust and move conflict into a cooperative direction.

One party to the conflict says he wants to reconcile and reach agreement. To confirm his intention, he makes a small concession to his opponent and expresses the hope that he will reciprocate in kind.

If the other party reciprocates, the first party may give in a little more, and this will advance the negotiations. Concessions should not be too significant and show the weakness of your position. With them you show a willingness to cooperate.


To resolve conflicts with peers, involve third parties – friends, teachers, parents. It is important that they are not interested in a positive outcome of the conflict. The third party will assess the situation more fully and objectively and help the participants deal with the problem without getting emotional and personal.

“Walking away from an argument doesn’t mean you’re a coward”: How to handle conflict if you’re an oversensitive introvert

Have you ever been advised to become more sociable, stop getting upset over nothing and generally take life easier? Such well-wishers usually want to send far away, but you can not – because then you can not sleep because you put people in their place. How to defend your opinion in a world full of perky extroverts explains psychotherapist Ilse Sand, author of “Distance Happiness,” which was published by “Alpina Publisher. “The Knife” publishes a step-by-step instruction for hypersensitive people, with the help of which they can protect their boundaries and at work, and at home, and even in the “Pyaterochka”.

Introverts and hypersensitive personalities usually do not like to dominate or engage in conflict. Sometimes, however, we are forced into confrontation because our mood has been ignored at the right moment. There are also times when we are dragged into some argument that costs us a lot of energy and energy.

Sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of things because of a heightened sense of justice. We either get the truth or lose our temper. With few exceptions, we have to scream or slam the door.

The first reaction usually comes from within us. We feel a stirring inside.

As a result, we are deprived of peace and, in some cases, of sleep. We run out of patience and feel powerless.

That is why we should not get into unnecessary conflicts.

How to get out of any conflict with benefit

It’s good to have people who can fight for justice when necessary, but if you don’t get into an argument, you can save a lot of energy.

I once lost my temper when I got a letter reminding me to pay a 50 kronor fine, even though I knew for a fact that I had paid all my bills on time. Since then, I’ve stopped paying attention to unpleasant little things.

There are at least two people involved in the dispute. And only one of them has to end it. It is quite possible that I may make a mistake somewhere in the text, but when a conflict arises, I immediately give in.

Any disagreement can be made good by expressing one’s opinion of what is going on. Here are some examples:

  • I don’t agree with you, but I’m not going to argue.
  • I don’t like your method of counting, but I didn’t disagree and just transferred the money.
  • I think you’re ignoring our agreement, but I won’t waste my energy bickering, so I’ll let you go in peace.
Walking away from an argument doesn’t make you look like a coward.

It’s a smart move, demonstrating your foresight. After all, there are many things in life that are really worth thinking about and worrying about.

With this approach, we will never encounter any injustice or bad behavior. The important thing is to have a person who can stop an incipient conflict in time.

Do you confront the person openly?

We have been taught to tell the person directly that we are rejecting them or setting our own rules. However, such statements can make an impressionable person nervous or uncomfortable, so we have to delay our decision for fear of voicing it.

Introverts and hypersensitive people have easier ways of communicating for situations like this. Maybritt used one of them:

Usually in writing to a person I share my thoughts and impressions with them. In doing so, I have to express feelings, which I am so afraid of because they seem naïve and rude to me. Then I talk to my interlocutor face to face. You never know how it’s going to go, but after all, a simple correspondence is cowardly compared to a conversation.

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Correspondence has many advantages over verbal communication: for example, introverts and hypersensitive individuals feel more comfortable when they are alone and have time to spare.

In such an environment, they are better able to formulate thoughts and gain the courage to be honest and conscientious about themselves.

Personally, I’ve never understood why people think it’s so much more correct to talk about problems to a person’s face than to write about them.

That’s why I prefer to receive exciting news in writing. For example, if I get a rejection, I can think about the situation in a quiet, calm atmosphere and either cry over it or find something positive in it. In face-to-face communication, on the other hand, it is harder for me to accept information that touches my feelings.

However, written communication also has its disadvantages. For example, a message can be misinterpreted because the letter does not convey the intonation and facial expression of the sender.

Misunderstandings between interlocutors are much less likely to occur in a telephone conversation, because the intonation of the interlocutor conveys additional information, and even rarer in a face-to-face meeting.

However, direct confrontation can take a lot of energy from impressionable people, preventing a detailed conversation, because they only later remember what they really wanted to say. Subsequently, a person will regret showing his excessive emotionality, which prevented him from formulating his position correctly, instead of blurting out the first thing that came to mind.

Among other things, an extrovert, upon receiving your message of rejection or something unpleasant, may find it rude. To avoid such misunderstandings, when you finish your letter, offer to discuss everything on the phone or meet face-to-face.

A phone call has advantages over a face-to-face meeting, especially when it comes to the limits of your patience.

For example, if you feel that the conversation is becoming unpleasant and you are losing the thread of its narrative, or your interlocutor no longer sees the connection between you and your message, ask him to interrupt and call back in half an hour. If you hear your caller begin to raise his or her voice, move the phone away from your ear to a distance you are comfortable with.

A practical guide for those who like introverts or hypersensitive people

You probably already know firsthand how irritation and anger knock you out. If your immediate family understands how aggression works for you and lends a helping hand in a difficult situation, it will be easier for you to confront and find a solution to any conflict of interest if necessary.

In Denmark, I interviewed forty-five hypersensitive individuals about the kind of reaction they would like to see from their interlocutor when a relationship escalates. The variety of responses surprised me, but there were some common trends.

More on this later in the practical guide for relatives. It is not a fact that everything in it will be relevant to you, but you can use it to create your own wish list for your relatives that will be useful for them during quarrels.

How to better communicate with me during arguments

  • Stop yelling. I am unpleasantly surprised, frightened and unable to understand you.
  • If you are not shy in expressions, I’ll certainly forgive you, but I will not be able to come to my senses for a long time, and my nervous system will be shaken. Even if the conflict ends in a reconciliation, and you do not regret that you have decided to clarify relations with me.
  • Tell me calmly what makes you angry and try to explain how I can fix the situation. In that case, I will go out of my way to understand you as best I can and do my best to find a solution that works for both of us.
  • When I’m angry, give me a chance to be alone for a while in peace and quiet. I promise to tell you what makes me angry, but it may take me a long time to think it over and formulate my thoughts.
  • Please don’t be nervous when I tell you about the difficulties in our relationship. If you deny everything or get angry, I’ll come to a dead end. If I notice that you’re not listening, I won’t be able to pull myself together to finish. I will irrevocably lose the thread of the conversation, the energy and the will to continue.
  • Don’t forget my very precarious position, which is why I need your support.

This advice does not imply unquestioning adherence.

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Offer them to your partner or the other person as advice about how to behave toward each other in a conflict situation. And maybe you will come to a compromise.

Among other things, my survey showed that many hypersensitive individuals are ashamed of going through conflicts for too long.

There is nothing strange about your attitude toward conflict.

Many introverts and hypersensitive personalities have repeatedly been advised to be less self-involved. Of course, you shouldn’t waste a lot of energy worrying, especially when you’re not threatened by anything and all the fears are a figment of your imagination.

For example, imagining how your boss will be angry because you ran his errands his way, you probably because of this half the night awake.

If he praises you, it is likely that you regret needless feelings. But if all your fears are confirmed, the moral preparation for the worst scenario will save you from a barrage of criticism and ill-considered words to the boss, which you would later regret.

You will explain your actions, carefully selecting each word, than you will fuel interest in your own ideas, including in the long run.

If you are the one who is unhappy with your boss, partner or co-worker, then additional reflection can help you to resolve the pending conflict peacefully.

It is important to emphasize here that reflection is inherent in sensitive people and animals, which first observe for a long time and then move on to action.

With a heightened nervous system, be doubly careful. I hope you remember to cheer yourself up, even when your speculation proves untenable.

Sometimes it’s still worth asking for help: for example, when intrusive thoughts keep you awake, even if it’s just some minor misunderstandings.

Talk to someone about your problem. Surely you have someone in mind. Or talk to a professional therapist or psychologist.

It can be difficult to determine the degree of neglect of a particular situation, so it is better to take a full course of treatment instead of eliminating minor symptoms.

You ruin your life by neglecting problems that could have been solved by the people around you if they had the chance.

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