You don’t? Well, you’re not alone. In fact, most people say they avoid it like the plague – and it’s easy to see why.
Conflict can unleash powerful, ugly emotions – and actions – that cause real damage between people, so we think it’s best kept in its box. Ideally under lock and key.
But in saying we want to avoid conflict, is it actually confrontation we want to swerve? Because it's the direct challenge of confronting another person who's saying or doing something we don’t like that often triggers our strongest and primal fight/flight/freeze emotions.
In turning it around, however, if we don’t confront that person, what happens then? Where do the emotions you feel about it go?
The cost of avoidance
Here's a simple exercise. Think about a conflict with someone who you now regret you didn’t properly confront. What was the effect of that avoidance on you, on others and on the conflict itself?
In all likelihood, everything turned inwards and came out again in some other way – in complaining to others, for example, or not giving 100% to a client. Or not sleeping. Or even, perhaps, in quitting the job you loved.
Take a moment to write down how much this avoidance cost you in terms of pain, energy, time – and hard cash.
Now think about a conflict with someone who you decided to face up to. Again, what was the effect of that on you, on others and on the conflict itself? And how much did this cost you in the same terms – pain, energy, time and hard cash?