Communication Conflict Resolution Tips for Men

Repair Communication Breakdowns and Improve Your Relationships Today

businessmen having a serious talk
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No matter how hard you try, it's impossible to avoid foot-in-mouth situations all the time. Whether it's an off-hand remark, deliberate attack or genuine misunderstanding, conflicts in communication can result in stress, depression, loss of sleep and the deterioration of personal and professional relationships. The strategy you choose to remedy the situation is key to conflict resolution. Learn to deal with conflict to improve communication at work and in personal and social relationships with these tips.

1. Avoid Confrontation

If someone else said something that offended you, you may be quick to confront them. But confrontation, which typically involves the demand of an apology from the other person or people involved and perhaps some form of compensation or redress for perceived wrongs, doesn't often lead to an amicable solution.

2. Approach the Problem Head On

Refusing to acknowledge a problem exists through avoidance is will only make a conflict worse. Low concern for the other person involved and a wish to avoid any further conflict is often the motivation for the avoidance approach, but it may ultimately stir up more resentment. Instead, being up front and acknowledging the issue can make everyone happier.

3. Only Apologize If You Mean It

Sometimes, people will misunderstand you and find fault with what you say even if you meant no harm. Regardless of who is right or wrong some people are so keen to end conflict that they will apologize and even accept blame.

Unless you truly believe you are at fault, saying "sorry" doesn't truly get to the root of the problem.

4. Compromise

Compromising is a form of negotiation in which both parties agree to some form of resolution. This approach often leads to the most amicable outcome, but be careful: it might lead to an uneasy truce in which both parties save face but on the basis of agreeing to disagree.

5. Create a Solution Together

Collaboration treats the need to repair the communication breakdown as an issue both parties need to solve together. This is probably the best approach for longer term resolution and one in which both parties have a vested interest. The approach may need to combine several elements, such as:

  • Forcing yourself to see the situation from the other person's perspective.
  • Accepting that initial inflexibility in others is usually a defense for emotional injuries sustained. However, most people are much more flexible and accommodating than our assumptions may allow.
  • Keeping a lid on your emotions while the other person expresses his or her feelings. If you want to resolve conflict, this is an important aspect. You are not required to accept their version as accurate (though you may) and you will need to accept some discomfort but not to the point of loss of face. This is a case of no pain, no gain.
  • Apologizing for unacceptable behavior, such as swearing or banging the table, that may have resulted from the conflict but which may only have served to make things worse.
  • Looking for ways outside of the immediate area of conflict to start rebuilding a relationship. This might be areas in which you both have a common interest (hobbies, children, activities). Once a connection is made it is easier to move towards addressing the real issue of conflict.

    Check out these resources for more conflict resolution tips:


    Guirdham, M (1990) Interpersonal Skills at Work. Prentice Hall International.