As you learned in a previous lesson, there are five different conflict styles. This lesson will discuss one of these styles, and how it presents itself in various situations.
The areas of focus include:
- Avoiding as a conflict style
- Positive/negative outcomes of avoiding
1. AVOIDING AS A CONFLICT STYLE
Recall that there are five different conflict styles. Avoiding is a conflict resolution style in which a party does not make any attempt to address or resolve the conflict.
- A conflict resolution style in which a party does not make any attempt to address or resolve the conflict.
As a style, avoiding is:
- Low in cooperativeness
- Low in assertiveness
- Behavior in which two parties work in concert to achieve their mutual and respective individual goals.
- Behavior in which a person confidently makes a statement without need of proof, affirming his/her rights without attacking another’s.
Let's look at some examples of avoiding as a style.
When you come home from work, you notice that your spouse is in an argument with your teenage kids over chores not getting done, curfew being missed, and homework not being completed. This is becoming a very heated argument. You think, “I'm just going to go in the office and close the door.” It is your tendency to avoid arguments like this at home.
You are on a trip with some friends. You've saved up some money for this trip, but you notice that you're running low. You've eaten at a few more restaurants than expected. You know you're going to need to bring this up because it's going to make a difference in the trip in terms of some of the things you do. However, you keep avoiding it; you just don't talk about it.
While walking down the street in your neighborhood, you notice there's some kids at the end of the block. It looks like they're getting into a fight, and it’s starting to get violent. You were walking right towards it, so you decide to cross the street and avoid the fight.
2. POSITIVE/NEGATIVE OUTCOMES OF AVOIDING
This particular style of conflict has, as all styles do, both positive and negative outcomes.
A positive outcome is a resolution to a conflict that a party perceives as meeting his or her needs and/or reducing the likelihood of further conflict.
A negative outcome is a resolution that the party perceives as not meeting his or her needs and/or increasing the likelihood of further conflict.
- Positive/Negative Outcomes
- Resolutions to a conflict that a party perceives as meeting his/her needs and/or reducing likelihood of further conflict (positive) or not meeting his/her needs and/or increasing likelihood of further conflict (negative).
Return to the example where you come home to find your spouse arguing with the kids, and you avoid it.
- Positive outcome: Maybe you and your kids get along okay because you stayed out of this argument.
- Negative outcome: Things don't get settled around the house. The kids know you and your spouse aren't on the same page, and your spouse may be upset that you didn’t step in.
Return to the trip example, where you're running low on money and you avoid talking about it.
- Positive outcome: You might enjoy a few more meals out with your friends on this trip.
- Negative outcome: When you come home, you realize you’ve far exceeded your budget because you didn't address it up front.
Go back to the scenario where you're walking down the street and see the kids in a fight at the end of the block, so you cross to the other side of the street.
- Positive outcome: You didn't risk your safety.
- Negative outcome: Maybe by not calling the police, or calling the parents of the kids if you know them, you ran the risk of this kind of behavior escalating in your neighborhood.
Do you tend towards the avoiding style as your preferred style? Can you think of a time when you responded to a conflict with this style? What was a positive and negative outcome of that conflict?
It’s important to remember that while avoiding might be the style that you tend towards and feel most comfortable with (your preferred style), that doesn't mean it's the only way that you can respond in a conflict.
There are other conflict styles, and you, as well as anyone, can respond in any number of ways to a particular conflict.
In this lesson, you learned about avoiding as a style of conflict, and what the positive and negative outcomes of using this style can be.
You now understand that even though avoiding may be your preferred style, you always have the ability to respond to conflict in a different way.