What is conflict, and why bother to resolve it?

Conflict is inevitable in any home or workplace, but it need not be a destructive force. If effectively resolved, conflict can deepen understanding and may even improve relationships.

Conflict arises because each individual is unique, with a unique perspective on things based around their experience, their culture, their religious and political beliefs. Whilst many of these views are complementary and overlap, there will always be occasions when somebody else's view is opposite to your own.

The ease with which a conflict can be resolved centres around what the conflict is about. The difficulty level rises the further you go to the right of the continuum illustrated below.

  • FACTS: the present situation or problem
  • METHODS: the best way to achieve our goals
  • GOALS: how we want things to be
  • VALUES: long term goals and qualities


If conflict centres about a purely factual issue you can argue and be stimulated, challenged and excited by the interchange of ideas; and even if discussions become heated you can stick to your position and remain the best of friends with the other person. This unfortunately is not the case if the issue of the conflict touches on your sense of 'who you are'. In this situation conflict needs to be managed and resolved.

If you don't adequately manage conflict, or if you ignore it, can lead to feelings of:

These feelings are draining, and may drag you down into depression, so resolution is important.

To resolve conflict, you need to:

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