There’s no way around it: living a full life means embracing conflicts with other people.
In the course of a typical week most of us will encounter coworkers, friends, and family members who have their own beliefs, preferences, tastes, intentions, and plans.
What we want or believe won’t always align with what others want or believe.
Unfortunately, while most of us would like to think we’re flexible and creative as problem solvers, research suggests that we’re first and foremost conflict averse, biting our tongue or actively taking steps to avoid potential conflict with others.
Whether it’s a work colleague’s bad idea, a roommate’s annoying habit, or an in-law rattling on about politics, many of us would rather shut up (rolling our eyes or complaining to friends) than engage.
When we do engage, we may give in quickly or compromise, failing to meet our own needs or devise really useful solutions.
Or if we dig in our heels, we fall into the trap of trying only to persuade the other side that our belief or preference is the right one – missing the chance to learn more and to problem solve.
In short, what most of us do well is to negotiate solutions to conflict.
Why is that?