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Caree Brown L.C.S.W. Psychotherapy

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What is Interpersonal Conflict?

nterpersonal conflict is defined as a conflict between 2 or more individuals as a result of differences in opinion and/or personality. For example, you and a friend decide to go on a trip together. You agree on a time frame, a budget, and the general location. It’s been decided that the trip will be to Europe and you’ll be staying for one week. You want to go to England; however, your friend would rather go to Spain. There’s not enough time to split the trip between both places, and soon, you and your friend begin to disagree and argue. This situation is an example of an interpersonal conflict.

Everyday Life

An interpersonal conflict can occur wherever two or more people are interacting with one another on a regular basis. This is common at work, in clubs, within families, and other relationships (especially marriages). If left unattended, interpersonal conflicts can escalate and lead to bigger disagreements between the couple or group. This can lead to rifts in relationships, trust issues, and may even cause people to separate.

For instance, two classmates in a marketing class are assigned to work on a project together. For the most part, their vision is the same and they have agreed on most of the planning so far. However, when it comes to the implementation of the project, the two begin to disagree on who should take over the social media aspect of it. Both want to take on this project for themselves and have their own ideas as to how they want this particular portion to be run. This leads to more arguments and escalates to the point where they are no longer communicating or being productive.

Another common example would be between a married couple. The couple has some money saved and the husband would like to spend it on a TV, while the wife disagrees and believes that they should save the money for a rainy day. The husband decides to just go and buy the TV anyway since they have the money and he found a great deal on the exact model he has been eyeing. But, when his wife finds out, she is not pleased. She expresses her frustration, saying they should have saved that money for when they need it. Her husband counters, explaining that he got a great deal and that they have plenty of savings to fall back on. This argument begins to escalate, and soon they are accusing each other of not listening to one another and not respecting the other’s decisions.

Interpersonal Conflict Management

Situations like these can be tough to avoid at times and can also be difficult to deal with. However, they are not impossible to work through. There are several ways to go about interpersonal conflict management. For example, if you find yourself in an argument with a peer or your partner, try not to let your emotions control your words and actions. Speak calmly and try to listen to what the other person has to say. Think of their perspective and understand their reasoning. If you are in a situation where the two of you cannot resolve your issues, then try to bring in a mediator.

A mediator should be someone who will not have a bias or preconceived notion about the argument or your relationship. They can be teachers, managers, or someone like a marriage counselor who is trained for these kinds of conflicts. Counselors are great resources as they are neutral parties who listen to both sides equally and can offer perspectives that you may not have thought of before.

While interpersonal conflict management can be difficult to deal with, they are natural and can help strengthen your relationship. They can help provide insight into another person’s way of thinking and how they perceive others and their ideas.

So, the next time you find yourself in conflict with another person, do not let the argument stand in the way of your relationship. Stay calm and ask for help if you need it.

If you’re suffering from stress, depression, anxiety, or any other affliction that can be resolved with therapy, Caree can help. Call, or schedule an appointment if you want to get a professional opinion to help you combat the stress of your daily life.

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