A fight, disagreement, argument, dispute, quarrel, squabble… whatever you want to call it, relationship conflict is an almost inevitable part of being human. Having different experiences, viewpoints and opinions means that things aren’t always going to be smooth-sailing with our friends, families and intimate partners, but knowing how to navigate the storms can make all the difference.
When something has upset you, it’s important to voice it, rather than letting the problem and your feelings simmer. What’s most important is how you go about voicing it.
Dr Rachel Low, who studies relationship conflict, says that the best way to address conflict is to use direct and open communication. The first step is making sure you’re in a good space and know exactly what you want to communicate to the other person.
“Really take a step back and see what the thing is that you’re unhappy with. Once you have a clear idea of what you want to change, then you sit down and have a direct, open conversation.”
Sending an email or a text can be tempting, especially if you struggle with confrontation and talking openly about your feelings, but it’s always better to find a time to sit down face to face to ensure that the context and tone of voice are not misinterpreted.
Here are 5 expert-approved ways to manage and resolve conflicts for happier, healthier and long-lasting relationships.