Avoiding Unnecessary Conflict in Relationships

What is Unnecessary Conflict?

Conflict is inevitable in all aspects of our life. However, some conflicts are more or less unnecessary and should be avoided if at all possible. For example, arguing over whether the drapes are fuchsia or magenta isn’t necessary and will cause a conflict over something that isn’t important. (Note that the key term here is “unnecessary” conflict.) By avoiding unnecessary conflict, you can keep your relationships healthier and less stressful.

How Do I Avoid Unnecessary Conflict?

The first step to avoiding unnecessary conflict is to first and foremost ask yourself why you’re arguing over something. Why do you care if the drapes are more fuchsia or more magenta? What is the ultimate outcome of the argument? If the only answer you can come to is “to prove I’m right” or “to get my way” then it’s not an argument worth having.

Here are some other questions you should ask yourself before getting embroiled in an unnecessary conflict:

  • Do I want to win the argument or salvage the relationship? If winning the argument means you’re damaging or losing a relationship, it’s not an argument worth winning.
  • Is there an indisputable reason why something has to be done my way? If your significant other doesn’t load the dishwasher exactly the way you wanted, is that really a huge deal? So long as they loaded it so that all the dishes get clean, it really shouldn’t matter if they put the small plates in front of the large plates and vice versa.
  • How important is the dispute? Again, arguing about drapes being fuchsia or magenta is a pretty worthless argument. If the disagreement isn’t important in the grand scheme of things, it’s probably not worth it.
  • Does my happiness depend on what my loved one does or doesn’t do? If you’re dependent on someone else for your happiness, you’re not in control. Take responsibility for your own well-being and control the controllables: your actions, your words, your behavior.
  • Can I just let it go? Is the argument over something so trivial that you could just let it go? At certain times, we all can make mountains out of molehills and recognizing when something is trivial and non-important is a great skill to have. If you can, just let it go.

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