Tips for Dealing with a Conflict-Avoiding Person
Interacting with other people is a necessary part of living in a normal society. Interacting with others well is a skill that is learned, intuited, and coveted when done well. Conflict avoidance is a natural response in most people, it’s expected and normal. However, dealing with issues and eventually facing the conflict is something that must be done.
Unfortunately, entering into a conversation that might solve conflict requires a willingness on both sides. Learning how to deal with someone that just doesn’t want to talk about what’s going on in their life can be difficult, and below we will give some helpful tips for how you can manage the conversations that you might have with them.
This article is meant to address the conflict that occurs between parties that care about each other and have a real rapport. If two people don’t really know or care that much about one another, conflict resolution becomes not just difficult but just unhelpful, especially if the conflict is directly harming one individual in the conversation.
Handle With Care
Remember that the person that you’re talking to is a human too, with real emotions that can and should be understood before proceeding. A helpful exercise can be to try and put yourself in their position. Don’t just imagine what they’re going through – though that can be a helpful exercise – but imagine that you were experiencing whatever they were in a very real fashion. Would you really act any differently? If so, what exactly would it take for you to get to where they are?
Humans are complicated. Emotions are even more complicated. Understanding that you could find yourself in whatever position that they are in is the first step in really getting to be able to help them, especially if they are resistant.
This is especially true if you understand their background and understand what might be making them act in a way that is concerning or causing them to avoid conflict. Maybe their family dynamic is rather difficult, or maybe their relationship is not as solid as it has been in the past, or any other things that could be happing simultaneously.
Understanding and empathy are keys here, and they all happen at a point before the conversation even begins. Keeping these things in mind as a conversation progresses is also important, but is much harder to do at the moment, and should be done before.
Pay Close Attention to Them
Pay attention to your friend. This is advice for during the conversation and before the conversation. Before the conversation, observe their habits. What forces them into the behavior that you need to address? Is stress a factor? Is something in their family not working out? When do they go for their vice, be it alcohol, drugs, or something else that is holding them back or ruining their life? These are the things that will help you understand your friend, and be able to go to them with specific concerns that they will be able to really think about what you’re trying to communicate to them.
When you’ve begun your conversation, try your best to make your friend feel not attacked, but comfortable so that the conversation can really continue and not end abruptly. This will mean that you’re taking into account specific physical cues that will help you navigate the conversation successfully. That doesn’t mean that your friend will be comfortable at all times, after all, they are the type that avoids conflict. That does mean that you can do your best to make the conversation as attractive as possible.
Don’t Add to Their Anxiety
Adding to your friend’s anxiety will only have them try to avoid you and the conversation more. This usually comes in specific ways, but if you avoid the dreaded phrase “we need to talk” or variations of it, you should be good. Don’t make the conversation that you need to have some sort of looming weight that they have to deal with, that makes people who avoid conflict like this only more afraid of the conversation that they need to have.
Remember that you are there for them and that in order to have a successful conversation you need to do whatever you can to prep them and make sure that they are in the right mindset for it. Typically, sending a ominous text like “we need to talk” is only helping your conscience as you are trying to give them the heads up that they think they deserve. In reality, you’re only sending off alarm bells in the other’s head. The specifics of the conversation are not defined or maybe not even relatively known by your friend, and while you may feel like the heads up is necessary, it’s a crutch for yourself that you can do without.
Address Them With Respect
Respect is felt and understood in any conversation, and this means that if you come into a conversation of these natures with contempt, it will be felt, and your friend might not receive anything that you might have to say to them, regardless of how helpful or how needed it is. This connects to the first point – understand their position, treat them with respect by understanding where they’re coming from.
Respect is a two-way street. If you do not give it, you will not receive it. In order for these conversations to be successful, you need to receive respect. This respect cannot be faked, it cannot be only to gain their respect, it must be real or else your friend will either feel it during the conversation or eventually figure it out and it will be a much bigger breach of trust later on.
Empathy, Love, Understanding
As difficult of a conversation as these can be, it’s important to keep your wits about you. Don’t stoop to name-calling, expletives, or shouting. At all times you should try to keep yourself composed and constantly striving for a specific goal. This means that you are employing all the above advice and combining them into a cohesive argument that your friend can clearly see and understand.
Remember, you are doing this for their benefit. That means that you will put yourself aside, your ego, anything that is unhelpful so that you can properly communicate what you need to.
Reach Out For Help
Not everyone is cut out for complex conversations. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, reach out to us at ecosoberhouse.com today. We have the tools to get you started on your journey to sobriety.