Are you always the peacemaker? Are you afraid of making someone mad? If you’re working on a class project and someone is not carrying their weight, do you talk to them or just finish it yourself? Some people find it hard to give feedback that is difficult to hear. Some people have dealt with criticism in their own life so much, they go over and above to make sure they don’t cause anyone else to feel the same thing.
There are several other reasons people will avoid conflict, including: fear of retaliation or aggression, being uncertain how to deliver the message, fear of embarrassment, fear of getting upset, frustration from dealing with a repeated behavior, or maybe they just hope the problem will resolve itself.
However, avoiding conflict generally doesn’t fix the problem. In fact, it can lead to more issues including resentment, distrust and emotional outbursts.
You’ll face many situations while you are in college that will require hard conversations. Your mom isn’t there to handle it for you. Do a little thinking on how you might deal with these situations if they arise. Being prepared can help make the difficult easier to approach.
Is there someone you can talk through the situation with? A trusted advisor or teacher – any neutral party really – can be a great resource. Talk through what brought you to the current situation and see if you can come up with reasonable solutions. Just because you are living on your own, doesn’t mean you’re all alone.
When you are preparing for a hard conversation, think about what you’ll cover. Be intentional with your plan. What solution do you want? What compromise will you consider? How will you remain calm and not let emotions get the best of you? What will you do if you can’t reach an agreeable outcome? Be up front if you’re actions have led to the position you find yourself in with someone.
Learning to deal with conflict is a skill you’ll use your entire life.