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Sydney Brooks
Speech 104- Intro to Interpersonal Communications
Carlton Kelley
April 7th, 2014
Conflict In Interpersonal Relationships
Interpersonal conflict is a massive problem in many peoples lives. Surprisingly,
conflict often causes relationships to grow and become stronger. Conflict between two
people occurs when they disagree. It frequently happens when a persons views or
wants are not compatible with the other persons. Conflict is an inevitable and
necessary part of all relationships. It happens in not only romantic relationships, but also
in families, friendships, with acquaintances, and with co workers.
Relationships can go through conflict for six major reasons. There are other
issues, but the most common are intimacy, power, personal flaws, personal distance,
social, and distrust issues. The most common are intimacy issues. Affection showing
and sexual relations cause this conflict. When the conflict is about power, one partner
may believe that the other wants too much from them. Issues with personal flaws
include physical appearance, drinking, smoking, and drugs. Personal distance issues
are when one partner must be away from the other for an extended amount of time for
school, work, or other commitments. When there is a problem with social issues, the
problem usually lies in family discontentment, ethics and values, or political position.
Least mentioned in the list of problems are distrust issues leading to conflicts.
Ironically, some of my biggest conflicts have been because of issues with not
trusting someone. I have trust issues because of a relationship I had in the past that

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failed. I recognize that I have problems and try to put my trust in others when they
deserve it. Contrary to my efforts, my subconscious still denies me the ability to trust
fully and unconditionally.
There are two kinds of conflict: Content and relationship conflict. Content conflict
is about an event, person, or thing. It is not about the person himself. For example, it
was content conflict when my boyfriend and I argued about why the characters in the
movie Divergent were running away at the end. Relationship conflict is about the
relationship one has with someone else. These conflicts are as common as content
conflicts and are sometimes masked as content conflicts. This happens when an
argument over something material or an event actually symbolizes a problem in the
relationship itself.
The five styles of conflict are competing, avoiding, accommodating, collaborating,
and compromising. Competing is often viewed as winning. This style is when the person
uses the conflict to their own advantage to make themselves feel better. The conflict
does not actually come to an end with this style. In the avoiding style, both people in the
relationship lose. The conflict is ignored and avoided at all costs. This style also is
incapable of solving conflicts. Problems should be confronted for best results, not
avoided. If the conflict is avoided by both individuals, it will continue to get worse until
someone one acknowledges the problem. With the accommodating style, losing and
letting the other person win is the goal. The loser gives up what they want to make the
other person happy. Therefore, this style is not fair and only ends in temporary
contentment of the winning person. This style hurts people more than it helps.
Collaborating is when both people in the relationship win. When conflict is collaborative,

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both peoples needs are fulfilled. To be good at collaborating, one must be able to
communicate easily and effectively. This style of conflict takes time and effort to
achieve, but it is the best solution to conflict. The last style is compromising.
Compromising is when both people win and lose at the same time. This style requires
an agreement where each person gives something up but they also gain something
from the other person. Compromising is usually mildly satisfying to both parties.
There are several stages in managing conflict. The first step is defining the
conflict. One must determine the content and relationship issues and pinpoint the
problem. Next, a person has to think about all of the possible solutions to the conflict.
One should try to find a solution that will benefit both partners. After that, the chosen
solution has to be tested. First, the solution should be tested just by thinking the
scenario through, then it should be tested in actuality. After testing the solution, one
must evaluate what happened. If the idea turns out badly, it can be rejected and should
be revised, like a hypothesis. The cycle starts over like the Scientific Method if the
solution is rejected. If the solution worked, it should be accepted and wrapped up. This
refers to the aftermath of keeping the relationship and resolutions up even after the
conflict is resolved to ensure that it will not happen again.
When conflict is present, there are also issues with maintaining the positive and
negative faces of both partners. Many people use face-attacking strategies to make
people feel bad. For example, when someone demands someone else to do or not to
do something, they are attacking that persons negative face. When they criticize the
other person for something they did to make them look bad, they are attacking the other
persons positive face.

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It is important to know your limits in close relationships when attacking the other
persons positive and negative face. One must try their best not to hit below the belt
and cause major problems. It is often best to use face-enhancing strategies if possible
instead of attacking. Face-enhancing strategies compliment and support the other
persons positive and negative faces.
Overall, conflict is unavoidable and should be dealt with in the best way possible.
One should always try to be fair and face-enhancing when managing conflicts. If a
person can master communication skills, they will be more successful in the workplace
and in intimate and familial relationships. A good communicator and problem solver will
go through life with greater ease because they will earn far more respect than if they
could not communicate as well. This is why understanding interpersonal conflict is
significantly important.