Sunday, August 30, 2009

The art of resolving interpersonal conflicts

Where there's people, there's politics. Personally, I have heard this phrase too many times. Having worked in the customer service line in a couple of different companies, I cannot agree more with that phrase.

It is true that conflicts arise when there are interactions between people; as we have all learnt previously, ineffective communication results in warped interpretations of intended meanings, which leads to unhappy feelings and hence affects relations.

Of course, politics is not the only cause of interpersonal conflicts. Conflicting interests and general miscommunication between loved ones or friends, for example, can also lead to disputes or even heated arguments or fights. And what it takes to spark off a conflict may just be a word or gesture. Moreover, different people have different ways of dealing with conflicts and disagreements, which makes resolution of interpersonal conflicts difficult.

Personally, I am not one to get into direct confrontations with people I am not close to. This means that for example, I hardly get into sticky situations with my classmates or colleagues unless my limit is reached, which is really rare. However, I am guilty of "abusing" my roomie, who is my younger sister.

In times of stress especially, I tend to vent my frustrations on my younger sister which causes strain on our relationship for awhile. However, for us, the anger dies down after a day or two, and then we are back to very good terms again. For example, sometimes when I am stressed up, I would snap at her for simply talking on the phone while I am doing work. For myself, I know it is wrong to do that but my prideful personality forbades me to "bow down" and apologise to her. So I end up upsetting her when it wasn't her fault in the first place. On her part, I believe she knows my character, and so I noticed that she would leave me alone and stay out of my way when I am frustrated or stressed up, and when it's all over everything would just fall back into place again. I do wonder if this is the case for alot of people, as it could be human nature for one to take for granted people whom one is especially close to and know very well.

One may argue that siblings tend to know each other well enough to know how to handle conflicts that arise between themselves, but I would say that conflicts take alot of different forms and vary in level of seriousness. And because conflicts may eventually "make" or "break" a relationship, each and every conflict should be properly handled.

The skill of resolving interpersonal conflicts is therefore an art that is not easily grasped and definitely not easily practised. I believe it takes a reasonable level of EQ (emotional quotient) and experience for someone to be able to handle interpersonal conflicts in a reasonably apt manner. As for the former, one would most likely agree on the uncontrollability of it, since each individual's EQ level is pretty much determined upon birth. As for the latter, one could actually improve on his or her capability to handle interpersonal conflicts by working or interacting more with people, who are the perpetrators of interpersonal conflicts. This would help one to realise what goes in this world, and what doesn't, and hence develop interactive skills that works to resolve interpersonal conflicts.

Resolving interpersonal conflicts is truly an art worth learning. People tend to show their true colours in times of conflict, and knowledge of how different people deals with conflicts would help one evaluate or manage his or her interpersonal relationships or even relations with colleagues in the workplace.


  1. Hey girl!!

    I have a younger brother too, and when I'm stressed up I do yell at him too. LOL! But like you, we make up very quickly and pretend like nothing ever happened.'s the nicest relationship in the whole world!

    Unfortunately, people we meet with everyday are not our brothers or sisters. They wouldn't simply put up with us if we yell at them like that. In fact, a little lack of courtesy could potentially be the reason for a huge misunderstanding.

    So I agree completely that EQ is something worth having. The art of dealing with interpersonal conflicts is something that is essential to master if we want to live a life that is as far as possible from 'miserable'.

    Overall, pretty informative post!! =)

  2. i believe i am facing two nasty sisters in class. Yes i have a sister who likes to yell at me. I am terribly disgusted at how you abuse your sibling.:)

    Alright, i admit i also like to snap at my siblings when i am irritated or stressed up with my work. I think we should all learn to control our temper and learn to be more patient as there are really a lot of irritating people out there. Therefore when handling things we should be objective and don't get too personal or we will always be getting into conflict.

    Last but not least, please don't abuse your younger siblings. They are there for you to love!:)