Conflict is a natural and often necessary part of human interactions. It can arise in various aspects of our lives, from personal relationships to professional settings. While many people have a tendency to avoid conflict, believing it will help maintain peace and harmony, avoiding conflict can actually lead to more significant problems and tension in the long run.
In this blog, we'll explore why avoiding conflict is, in essence, a form of conflict itself and how addressing conflicts directly can lead to healthier and more productive outcomes.
7 Reasons Why Conflict Avoidant Isn't Healthy And How It Impacts Relationships
1. Suppressed Emotions
When you avoid addressing conflicts, you tend to suppress your true feelings and emotions. Instead of expressing your concerns, you keep them bottled up inside, which can lead to emotional buildup. This suppression can cause anxiety, stress, and even resentment over time. The longer we ignore these emotions, the more intense they become, ultimately leading to an explosion of feelings that can damage relationships and hinder effective communication.
Conflict Tip: Write out what you are feeling to help process your thoughts and emotions. Next, make a list of things you need to discuss beforehand so you can feel prepared and stay on topic of conversation. Ask questions to gain clarity or diffuse any discomfort to buy yourself time.
2. Eroded Trust
Avoiding conflict can erode trust within relationships, whether personal or professional. When you refrain from addressing issues, it can create an atmosphere of distrust, as others may question whether they can rely on open and honest communication. Trust is built on transparency, and avoiding conflict can compromise that trust.
Conflict Tip: Work on building self-trust knowing what you have to say is vital to the health of your relationships, personally or professionally. Being able to trust yourself will lead to greater trust and help you feel more comfortable being transparent about your concerns.
3. Missed Opportunities for Growth
Conflict often arises from differences in opinions, perspectives, or needs. Instead of seeing these differences as roadblocks, they can be viewed as opportunities for growth and learning. Addressing conflicts head-on allows you to gain a deeper understanding of yourself and others, promoting personal and interpersonal growth. When conflicts are avoided, these valuable opportunities for self-improvement and relationship development are lost.
Conflict Tip: Active listening can be helpful for diffusing difficult situations and bridging the gap between different perspectives or needs. When we listen, it's much easier to achieve mutual alignment and work collaboratively together.
4. Escalated Issues
Conflict, when addressed promptly and constructively, can often be resolved more easily and with fewer consequences. However, when conflicts are avoided, issues tend to fester and can grow in magnitude and complexity. Small problems can transform into major ones that are far more challenging to resolve. Ultimately, what could have been a minor disagreement turns into a significant source of stress and discord.
Conflict Tip: Be willing to choose a time and day that works best for both people to talk about the relationship issues. This prevents resentment and anger from building up and makes it much easier to talk when both parties are committed and available. It shows both people value the relationship and desire to find a resolution.
5. Stifled Innovation and Creativity
In a workplace setting, avoiding conflict can stifle innovation and creativity. When you are afraid to voice your opinions or offer new ideas for fear of conflict, the company misses out on the potential for fresh perspectives and problem-solving approaches. Encouraging open dialogue and constructive conflict resolution can lead to more creative and innovative solutions.
Conflict Tip: Giving every person a voice in the discussion creates mutual respect and collaboration. It shows each person is a valuable asset to the relationship or organization and everyone’s play a vital role in achieving objectives and goals.
6. Unresolved Issues Lead to Resentment
Over time, unresolved conflicts can result in deep-seated resentment. This resentment can permeate relationships and have a lasting negative impact. The avoidance of conflict may provide temporary relief, but it often leaves underlying issues unaddressed, leading to a growing sense of frustration and bitterness.
Conflict Tip: Ask yourself how come you are avoiding conflict. What about conflict is uncomfortable? What would make it easier to share your thoughts or feelings? How could you see conflict as a constructive way to grow your relationships?
7. Broken Down Communication Channels
Effective communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship or company. Avoiding conflict undermines communication by creating an environment where people hesitate to express their thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Over time, this lack of open communication weakens relationships and impedes collaboration.
Conflict Tip: Communication can be challenging if you grew up in a home where open dialogues were nonexistent or you were a parentified child. Not being able to express your needs can make it more difficult to express in your adult relationships. Working on communication and enhancing relationship intelligence skills can help you overcome this fear of being ignored, criticized, or judged for your thoughts.
Avoiding conflict is, in reality, a form of conflict itself. It leads to suppressed emotions, erodes trust, and can cause missed opportunities for personal and professional growth. Unresolved issues can escalate, stifling innovation and creativity, and leading to ongoing resentment or anger.
Once communication channels are shut down, it further exacerbates the problem causing the conflict to create a greater divide amongst those in your life. It’s essential to recognize the importance of addressing conflicts directly and constructively in order to evolve and maintain healthy relationships, encouraging collaboration. Embracing conflict as an opportunity for growth and improvement can ultimately lead to more remarkable and fulfilling personal and professional lives.
Looking to improve your conflict resolution skills with one of certified mediators and coaches? Book a call here and get started today so you feel more at ease where you can negotiate and converse with others.