Do conflict resolution techniques work in personal relationships?

I am sure we have all been there, where there is a disagreement that is based on different perspectives of a situation which created misunderstandings and further miscommunication.

I admit I used to be one of those people who communicated better through email than in-person especially when I wanted to hear. I realized why I communicated better this way was because then the other person doesn’t have an opportunity to talk and I don’t have to deal with their emotions or their perspectives.

Did this work well? No it didn’t. It ended up being a one-sided conversation that usually didn’t get a response as the other person would just choose to not respond as they wanted to talk about it in person.

When it came to the in-person meeting, I would get nervous and anxious as now I knew that my ego was panicking. My ego didn’t know what to do with the situation on hand as now there may be a chance that I might be wrong.

Through learning about how to resolve conflict as a human resources professional, I decided to take up some of these techniques in my personal life.

I decided that if I had something I was not particularly happy with, I would address it almost immediately or at the best chance either on the phone or in-person (even over the phone is a little bit of being a chicken but for certain situations is better than sending emails or text messages). I would let the person know what is on my mind, ask them what their thoughts were on the situation and then we would have a discussion about it. At this point, there is a more of a mutual understanding that could lead to resolution of some sorts. There are cases that these conversations may lead to an amicable end to a relationship. I also soon released that there are others who do not like conflict, do not like to discuss their values and feelings nor do they like to come to amicable resolutions unless they are right. In a workplace, both parties would be called in for a meeting to discuss what has happened, in personal relationships there is no management to make this happen.

So what does one do when the conflict resolution techniques do not work in personal relationships?

One of the best resources on conflict that I found was this article:


It helped to understand why conflict occurs, the responses to it and how to move through it.

I write this article as a reflection of the past conflicts in my life that I wish I had dealt with differently, with more understanding and more awareness.