Confrontations at all levels and places (whether in the workplace, academic or religious settings) can be a scary thing. This is more so in a romantic relationship, which most people would readily assume should be perfect and devoid of conflicting interests. Whether a first time or not, the mixed feelings of wariness, unease, agitation, anger, and/or even depression is ever-present through it all. There is also the fear of the possible outcome of the confrontation. “Would my partner be open to an honest conversation and a solution that meets both party’s needs?”, you wonder.

For the purpose of this article, confrontation refers to the act of facing something or someone that needs to be addressed head-on – directly and effectively. It should not be confused with a full-blown aggressive or angry conflict.

Somewhere along the line, most of us tend to panic (by avoiding or withdrawing) for fear of the possible outcome of the confrontation. This, of course, tends to ruin the perfect relationship that we had prior to the confrontation. The idea of breaking away from the relationship culminates from our already-fixed mindset that a good relationship is devoid of confrontations. But who really said this is so?

Every normal relationship would experience rife and misunderstandings. This is even healthy if both parties are able to constructive manage and resolve their conflicts. Constructively managing your confrontation starts with understanding your confrontational styles. So what is your style of handling confrontations? Which of the strategies listed below do you often use? Here are the common styles;

Two ladies almost backing each other.
  • AVOIDANCE – At a point in my life, I was big on using this style in my relationship. I would avoid having conversations with my partner about pressing issues that I did not agree with; not because I was afraid of my partner, but because I felt discussing it might make it escalate. I also felt that since the bone of contention is one that he holds so dear to heart, that I could avoid and wish it away until it disappears. How wrong I was! The avoidance strategy is never a good way to handle confrontations. The result is always a lose-lose situation for several reasons. For starters, it has a way of making either or both parties feel neglected by refusing to address an issue. If it is already an issue to any or both of you, odds are that it won’t go away till amicably resolved. So, by avoiding issues, you make them linger and accumulate until they escalate and ruin all chances of a peaceful resolution. However, one can employ this strategy if the issue is a one-off issue that may not occur again. In this case, it does not worth the effort of confronting the other party.
Two men arguing in the elevator.
  • AUTHORITARIAN – This is often used by diplomats, autocrats, or generally those in a position of power. It is typically a win-lose situation, where the autocrat makes a decision without the consent of the partner. This is not to say that there are no cases where the subordinate party gains over the powerful party. There can be several instances where the decision taken is to the benefit of the subordinate partner. This is not the best strategy to handle confrontations. But, one can adopt it when extremely difficult decisions have to be made.
A man and a woman staring at each other.
  • COMPROMISE – This is a strategy where both parties reach a middle ground, both losing and gaining at the same time. It is often considered a win-win strategy because it breeds a quick solution in the face of limited time. However, in the long run, it can be a lose-lose situation sometimes and may require that both partners sit to discuss the issue in detail and address it effectively.
  • ACCOMMODATION – This is a situation where one partner in a relationship keeps making all the sacrifices and compromises in order to keep the peace. This is usually a welcome development to the other partner who interprets it as love. While this is so, it may also mean trouble. The excessive sacrifices can make the individual in question resentful and dissatisfied. Accommodation strategy tends to be a win-lose situation.
Two hands holding each other.
  • COLLABORATION – Studies show that collaboration may be the most effective approach in conflict resolution. It is usually a win-win situation because it seeks solutions to issues that meet the needs of the parties involved. It always opens an avenue for a lengthy and honest conversation. By so doing, the parties get to discuss its root cause(s) and proffer mutually beneficial solutions. Through this way, they are better able to settle on a solution that meets the needs of both partners.

When it comes to confrontation, no two scenarios are exactly alike. Therefore, methods of resolving them may differ as well. Just like I have specified above, each of these styles has its own strengths and weaknesses. The best style for you to choose is one that suits your scenario. While this is not debatable, it is also wise for you to understand your confrontational style and shore up on the weaknesses associated with it.

Did you enjoy this article? If yes, like, comment and share this post. Also, keep a date with us next week as we continue with our series on confrontation and its resolution.

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