Conflict is not necessarily negative.
Instead, conflict can be healing.
Conflict can also help problem-solving.
But all of this depends on the approach.
Avoiding conflict is not going to get your problem solved, or get you to the other side. It’s going to escalate it.
Nor will approaching conflict from the perspective of trying to punish the other person. That also is going to resolve problems or be able to flesh out and raise issues.
Conflict can be really healing when you apply some of the skills that keep you in a hard conversation, that gets you to say things that need to be said and where you can work through the issues and approach each issue from a future-focused perspective.
Work on the issues rather than attacking the people involved.
Yes, it can take a fair bit of skill to build the ability to have hard conversations well.
It depends how much you want it a positive outcome …?
You don’t have to do it all alone.
Many alternative dispute resolution processes guide you through.
I am a firm believer in relying as much as you can on having a facilitated discussion, or having a mediation.
Early stage mediation, the better because we haven’t escalated things and made things bigger in the meantime.
An early stage mediation could be as little as a phone call for 90 minutes, and the mediator is trained to be able to get you to focus on the issues, to get you to focus on the outcome of each issue, and to ask questions that get you to say the things that you need to say, but also make you feel safe.
It takes a commitment to stay in the conversation, and sometimes it takes having to pay someone to keep that commitment because if the stakes aren’t high enough, you can walk away from a conversation.
As well as being able to say the things that are unsaid, and problem-solving, being able to have some sense being heard and understood can come from conflict done well.
Even if you’re not doing it alone, and you’re doing it with a facilitated discussion or mediation, you’re actually starting to build skills that you can communicate with this person in an ongoing way. These skills can be valuable moving forward, particularly if you are parents or business partners or have some other kind of long-term relationship that you can’t just walk away from.