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Conflict resolution skills for healthy relationships

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Get in touch with your feelings

An important component of conflict resolution involves only you - knowing how you feel and why you feel that way. It may seem that your feelings should already be obvious to you, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes you feel angry or resentful, but don’t know why. Other times, you feel that the other person isn’t doing what they “should”, but you aren’t aware of exactly what you want from them, or if it’s even reasonable.

Hone your listening skills

When it comes to effective conflict resolution, how effectively we listen is at least as important as how effectively we express ourselves. It’s vital to understand the other person’s perspective, rather than just our own if we are to come to a resolution. In fact, just helping the other person feel heard and understood can sometimes go a long way toward the resolution of a conflict.

Practise assertive communication

Communicating your feelings and needs clearly is also an important aspect of conflict resolution. As you probably know, saying the wrong thing can be like throwing fuel on a fire, and make a conflict worse. The important thing to remember is to say what’s on your mind in a way that is clear and assertive, without being aggressive or putting the other person on the defensive.

Seek a solution

Once you understand the other person’s perspective, and they understand yours, it’s time to find a resolution to the conflict - a solution you both can live with. Sometimes a simple and obvious answer comes up once both parties understand the other person’s perspective. In cases where the conflict was based on a misunderstanding or a lack of insight to the other’s point of view, a simple apology can work wonders.

Know when it's not working

Because of the toll that ongoing conflict can exact from a person, sometimes it’s advisable to put some distance in the relationship or cut ties completely. Only you can decide if a relationship can be improved, or should be let go.

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