Conflict occurs when two or more people disagree, want different things, or misunderstand each other.  While conflicts might be an unavoidable part of life, it’s important to manage them correctly to ensure that they do not escalate and cause harm to those involved.

Some conflicts are based on perception, i.e. what one person believes is happening and why. A man may think he is telling a funny joke, but his friend may be offended by the punch line. A woman may constantly play loud music early in the morning to wake herself up, yet her next door neighbour may believe that it is a deliberately played to annoy them. Perceiving that someone has intentionally meant to cause offence or disrespect can result in an unintentional confrontation.

So, how does it start?

  1. Misunderstandings – I think one thing, you think another, or one of us has misinterpreted what the other has said or done.
  2. Differences – I want or believe something different to you. These can be actual or perceived differences that I may or may not be aware of. Differences could be in goals, approaches, beliefs, views, personalities, or just clashes in lifestyle choices. For example, I like parties and barbecues but you want to sit quietly in your garden.