The Use and Misuse of an Avoiding Style in Conflict Management

When using such a conflict mode the individual acknowledges the conflict but deals with it by ignoring, being non-committal, sidestepping or withdrawing from the issue. This puts both parties in a lose-lose relationship where their feelings, goals or views of either party are not addressed. Efforts are made to delay or evade the confrontation, disagreement or problem rather than dealing with it. The goal is to avoid it for the moment at least.


Haleema-NoonHalima Noon is currently working at Willing Ways as clinical psychologist. She has done her MS in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. Her published MS thesis includes current trends of materialistic values and compulsive buying among young adults. She is a Certified Reiki Practitioner from Ijaz Psychiatric Institute. Halima is also an artist by profession.

Editor: Halima Noon


Developmental Perspectives

From a developmental view, an individual who takes an avoiding approach consistently when dealing with disagreements is likely to have experienced life events which reinforced the notion that conflicts are unfavorable. Some family values also that may discourage arguing and displays of disapproval that impact an individual's willingness to assert themselves when they have a different perspective. The role of a person and their position of power in the family or an organization may also influence willingness to speak up in opposition as they may believe it is inappropriate or not safe, to disagree with the person in authority. Sex role stereotypes make females less willing to confront males over difference of beliefs and perceptions. Individuals who view conflict as threatening are likely to avoid it physically and psychologically. Learning assertiveness skills results in social and practical benefits. When incorporated in family and organizational life one’s ability to know how and when to address these differences results in better decision making and productive outcomes. Learning the use of good judgment in choosing one’s actions in response to conflicts is an important key of success. Challenging the decisions of others may cause unnecessary problems but with selective disagreement, they can be handled appropriately and result in the potential to generate benefits.

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4 Reasons why avoidance does not work

Avoidance may work in a few situations however in some avoidance fails and results in unnecessary pain and suffering. The following may be the reasons why avoidance fails:

1. Makes the problem worse

When one refuses to deal with a problem, it usually grows.

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