The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Good conflict handling key in any relationship

By Jim Birmingham/reporter

Conflict corrodes relationships, causes stress and can manifest from any interaction, and defusing the situation is key to maintaining relationships, a TR counselor told students April 20.

In Conflict Resolution, Jeronimo Aviles discussed the types of conflict and explained how to work out differences between those in conflict.

“Conflict in itself is neither good nor bad,” he said. “It is how we use it.”

A conflict can have a positive or negative outcome. When the conflict becomes abusive, disruptive or competitive, Aviles said the conflict must be dismantled before it erupts.

“Think about conflict like dynamite,” he said. “Dynamite can be used for two things: You can use it to destroy bridges, which breaks relationships, or you can use it to make holes in mountains to connect from one thing to another.”

A difference of opinion is not a conflict, Aviles said. People will have different opinions. But when a disagreement happens, “you start to get protected. You make a big umbrella to self-protect,” he said.

The process of conflict happens in five steps. It begins with assumptions and perceptions of issues and relates to context, which is the setting where the conflict occurs, Aviles said. This leads to the actual event, resulting in engagement, where either one reaches a conclusion or it becomes cyclical and the conflict keeps recurring.

“There is also a way of classifying what level of conflicts there are,” he said.

One level is problem-solving, the healthy level of conflict, Aviles said. Then, there is disagreement, which leads to wanting to self-protect, which makes the conflict worse and leads the conflict into a contest, where the disagreement becomes a competition to win the argument.

A contest can lead to a fight, and “it becomes about Team One or Team Two … You’re going to recruit people who agree with you, and anyone who disagrees immediately becomes an enemy,” he said.

A conflict resulting in a fight can lead to the last level of conflict called danger.

“Danger is actually about destroying the other person,” he said. “It can mean delinquency behavior or physical aggression.”

Negotiation is the key to dismantling conflict, Aviles said. If a desire is important, then one should accept the “no” from the individual in conflict but talk with them, Aviles said.

Understanding the reason the person is saying no is important, so one must empathize and reason with the individual. People should empathize the consequences and benefits and find a balance, Aviles said.

People must increase understanding with each other to solve the conflict. Aviles said they should summarize what the other person is saying, ask questions to see if they understand and repeat parts of the message in their own words.

“Listen and understand why they are attached to their emotions,” he said. “It is important to reduce blame and not be critical. When you are disagreeing, you are attacking the core of the person, and it becomes very critical,” he said.

Conflict resolution is important to maintain friendships and avoid hurtful arguments. Understanding the steps that lead to conflict, actively working to avoid them and understanding the person one is in conflict with can help mitigate harm and hurt feelings, Aviles said.

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