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Conflict Avoidance in a Relationship: How to Overcome It

how to deal with someone who avoids conflict

You might value making sure the situation is as safe as possible before you start asserting what you need. Maybe that means waiting until you’re out for coffee in a public place with someone, or only checking in with them once you’re home alone in your bedroom and can text them on your own terms. You have a clear idea of what you want and what you don’t want — but that doesn’t mean you feel the need to assert it in the moment. It feels normal for you to step back and observe what’s going on with other people without necessarily intervening, even on your own behalf. Just because you value keeping things the same, however, doesn’t mean you’re totally fixed in your opinions. Someone who avoids confrontation may simply feel a fight isn’t worth the energy, which results in either walking away or changing the subject before it escalates.

How To Keep A Conversation Going (With Examples)

how to deal with someone who avoids conflict

Listen without interruption to what the other person has to say. Then, ask questions to make sure each side understands what the other person thinks, feels, and wants. 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. Gaslighting is a dangerous form of manipulation where someone acts in such a way that you start doubting your perceptions, your memory or your own judgment. You often walk away from the conversation feeling like the crazy one.

Do People Ignore You? Reasons Why & What to Do

  • Conflict avoidance can have several negative consequences in relationships.
  • They include Vladimir Putin, who faces charges over the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia.
  • Sometimes, a little self-reflection can provide significant insight into the core issues in your relationship and even into some of your most fundamental fears in life.
  • People with narcissistic personality disorder, for example, tend to lack empathy to truly understand another’s feelings and position, which is the most important step in conflict resolution.
  • Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worth your time and energy.

Although the adverse impact of conflict avoidance can be seen across all genders in relationships, its effects can be particularly upsetting for women. While it’s OK to never be completely comfortable with confrontation, being able to resolve issues effectively means accepting it as a healthy part of communicating with others. Being conflict avoidant also impacts our relationships because we’re cutting off all honest communication with the other person. Aside from our work life, avoiding conflict can manifest in our romantic relationships, friendships, and even family dynamics.

Acknowledging Different Points of View

how to deal with someone who avoids conflict

Imagine that you hear that you hurt a coworker’s feelings with a thoughtless remark. You feel awkward about the situation and unsure about how to bring it up. Conflict avoidance on both sides could lead your work relationship to grow uncomfortable and distant. By contrast, taking the coworker aside to discuss what happened and apologize would likely repair the relationship and set up productive future interactions.

  • They reflect your values, preferences, and expectations and help you define what is acceptable or unacceptable for you.
  • When you really listen, you connect more deeply to your own needs and emotions, and to those of other people.
  • “Conflict avoidance often manifests from a negative experience that may have taught you that it’s safer to avoid than to engage,” Morales explains.

how to deal with someone who avoids conflict

This shows disrespect and, in certain situations, even contempt, while at the same time letting the underlying conflict grow. For example, deciding a late friend doesn’t care enough to be on time, or that a tired partner is denying sex out of passive-aggressiveness. With workplace challenges, understanding how to deal with someone who avoids conflict why a person is being difficult can help with the approach to handling them. A whopping 83% of people say they suffer from work-related stress. Do they feel like their job is threatened by you or another coworker? Do they have a long commute or stressful meetings once they arrive at work?

Circumventing power struggles by calmly and assertively identifying three or four critical boundaries helps a person determine the partner’s ability to be respectful. Alternatively, a partner who shirks disclosing selfish or hurtful behaviors to avoid a fight may be evading accountability. Understanding each conflict avoidant style may inform a person about the emotional safety of the relationship.

You might know that you need to tell your bestie that no, it’s not OK to cancel your plans for the fourth time in a row with no explanation. At the same time, offering a listening ear doesn’t mean that you allow yourself to be mistreated. You can also effectively communicate by being assertive and letting the other person know what type of behavior you expect. Helping them to understand what you will and will not tolerate in the workplace, in the family dynamic, or in a relationship can create the boundaries that you need.