We initiate, form, maintain, and end relationships via verbal and nonverbal communication.
When we have a conflict, a relationship is temporarily destabilized. An interpersonal conflict is an expressed disagreement between at least two people whose goals are incompatible at the moment.
People have different coping styles in the face of conflict. Some choose to deny that conflict exists, others attempt to avoid it and some "go at it" head on. Some people blame the other person, some blame themselves. The constructive ways of approaching conflict are compromise and collaboration. Compromise entails willingness to "give and take" with the other person. Collaboration is about working creatively as a team toward a solution that meets the needs of each person.
It helps to approach conflict with a clear sense of what the problem at hand is and what you would like to get out of the situation. Being able to articulate your thoughts, and needs in a direct, yet non-threatening way will promote a problem solving, rather than defensive atmosphere. Before you delve into resolving your conflict, pause and consider your thoughts and needs, and try to bring them down to just a few main themes, so that you don't overwhelm yourself or the other person. Approaching a conflict situation with a clear description of the problem, focusing on the problem at hand, showing interest in the other person's thoughts and opinions, and expressing interest in finding a middle ground facilitates the process of constructive conflict resolution.
If you feel you have conflicts that are just too much for you to handle right now, you might consider getting some outside input (e.g., from your parent, friend, RA, etc.). If your conflicts are overwhelming or you are experiencing a great deal of relationship difficulties, you may want to contact UCC at (585)275-3113.
Compiled by Helena Kopecky, M.A. for the University Counseling Center