Do you know what an interpersonal conflict is? If no, then browse through this article to learn about what is interpersonal conflict.

Interpersonal Conflict

Interpersonal conflict is a fact of life – and truth be told, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is the difference of opinion between two persons or groups which results in an argument or at times, a clash. The basic reason for this conflict is that we are all different. Each person has unique ideologies and values and when they meet people with opposing beliefs, conflict occurs. The existence of conflict is usually accompanied by various feelings such as hurt, anger, confusion, inferiority complex etc. If people involved in an interpersonal conflict act defensively and close themselves to others’ ideas completely then these conflicts are aggravated and intensified. On the other hand, open discussions and timely conversations can be the solution to these problems. Ignoring opinion clashes might strengthen mutual incompetency which later becomes impossible to resolve. The parties may develop ego issues and refuse to compromise on their ideas and beliefs. Once this point is reached, the chances for a compromise are significantly reduced. Working towards solving the conflict while it is still a matter of opinion is highly advisable or else it might strain the best relationships also. Steer through this article to get further insights on the subject.
What Is Interpersonal Conflict
Interpersonal conflicts are struggles which usually arise from contrasting ethics, values, beliefs etc. Conflicts are characterized by defensive climate which gradually ignites the existing struggle between the people. The characteristics of a defensive climate are mentioned below:
  • Flaws/Criticism: Constant judging of the other person’s character/actions can worsen the situation. Comparing the person’s ethics, behavior or values to another is like treading over dangerous waters. This attitude is commonly noticed during interpersonal conflicts and should not be nurtured at any cost.
  • Control: As this is a struggle between each individual’s concept of right and wrong, the concerned people try to impose their power and viewpoints on the other so that they can get an upper hand in the unresolved matter.
  • Neutrality: This is the worst case scenario where the participants remain indifferent of each other and thus allow no opportunity for an amicable settlement of the argument.
  • Rigidity: This is seen when the involved participants remain so rigid that they refuse to accept the idea of a mutual compromise. They stick on to their grounds and do not budge an inch.
Different Levels Of Interpersonal Conflicts
  • Level 1: It all starts with a mole hill which later grows to become a mountain! Small issues pile up and become annoying for the individuals involved and lead to interpersonal conflicts.
  • Level 2: The small differences in opinions grow and become a marked difference. The conversations at this stage are sprinkled generously with sentences that can be characterised as evaluating, judgmental or critical in nature. (For example, ‘I think you are wrong’).
  • Level 3: At this level, arguments and confrontations become a daily affair. Preachy or sermonizing remarks (such as, “You should manage your time like I do.”) are heard more often and the degree of friction increases at an alarming rate.
  • Level 4: This stage is marked with a person harboring contradictory opinions about everything under the sun, digging up the past and playing the blame game to portray oneself as a victim. Physical abuse acts as the proverbial last straw to express the accumulated defensiveness.
  • Level 5: “An eye for an eye” is all that goes inside the people involved in an interpersonal conflict at this advanced stage. The opponents are considered as enemies and their complete annihilation is the sole ambition of the individual.
How To Resolve Interpersonal Conflict
  • Differences in opinions must be discussed openly at an early stage to figure out the problem or even the solution to the confusion. But remember, it should not become a competition to establish ‘I am right’. Also, it is not cowardly to take the first step by inviting the other person for an open discussion.
  • Give everyone a chance to narrate their part of the story. When it is your turn, mention your grievances clearly but make it a point to listen to what the other person has to say. Keep your cool and refrain from arguments during this time. Any attempt at advising or dominating your counterpart would abort the mission. Feel free to invite a negotiator for a better result.
  • Compromise is never a one way street. Being open-minded so as to see both sides of the picture is the only way to resolve a conflicting situation.
  • Once the problem has been identified, invite suggestions from all those who are involved to put in their valuable suggestions. A mutual agreement clears the tension in the air and, before you know it, the interpersonal conflict will become a history! 
Believe it or not, conflicts have their benefits! You can make them constructive by recognizing the problems early on and eventually resolve them only to have a stronger and healthier relationship with the other party.

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