Conflict Management as A Key To Effective Communication

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Before I could begin writing about conflict management I knew that I needed to do some research in order to gain a better understanding of it. I started my research off by learning what actions usually tend to influence common behaviors in conflicts. In order for me to know how to manage conflict successfully, I needed to learn what was the best behavior to execute during a conflict so that I could practice that and have a positive outcome. After researching and learning about common behaviors that usually occur in a conflict I realized that I actually portray these behaviors whenever I’m in a conflict, but I did realize that although I had some positive behaviors I portrayed more negative ones. This is something that I knew I needed to work on and fix right away to positively improve how I acted in conflicts and better my conflict management.

Overton and Lowry (2013) explain that conflict is indeed inevitable and that positive and negative consequences may take place depending on how well you were able to manage the conflict. From personal experiences, I have learned that communication is a significant part of relationships and a necessity of any healthy relationship. Every relationship goes through their fair share of good and bad times, however solid communication can make it simpler to manage conflict and build a stronger and healthier relationship. Creasey and Ladd (2004) chose to base their studies off of adolescent romantic relationships on late adolescent college students. I personally related to this article because my whole communication paper is based off my long-distance romantic relationship in college. Being long-distance while attending college is definitely a struggle for both partners, and late adolescents often report declines in romantic relationship quality because of the demands of the collegiate experience (Creasey & Ladd, 2004). Over the course of the first semester this became very true and visible as I witnessed both of us grow slowly apart and adapt to our new lives without each other. As the days went on so did the silly arguments and what felt like never-ending conflicts.

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How positive behavior is viewed during conflict primarily relies upon what the conflict is about. “When a conflict exists, the first step is to decide whether to address it” (Overton & Lowry, 2013). When weighing out options to decide how to proceed with the conflict at hand, it is very important to keep in consideration the positive and negative consequences that can occur afterwards depending on the approach you choose. This all decides whether it will be helpful and appropriate to continue. “Adolescents who express a high degree of certainty in their ability to regulate negative emotions are thought to be emotionally autonomous and possess the ability to easily regulate negative emotions during conflict encounters” (Creasey & Ladd, 2004). In some ways Nate and I both related to this because when it comes to speaking to each other we’re both comfortable enough to be autonomous with our emotions which helps make it easier for us to regulate negative emotions during our conflicts but this is only effective if we’re thinking rationally and not irrational.

Whenever conflict occurs empathy from both partners is known to slowly decrease and no longer be portrayed in conversations. “Empathy towards one’s romantic partner can be manifested physically, and physiological synchrony in heart rate and skin conductance between members of a couple has been linked to greater relationship satisfaction” (Perrone-McGovern, Oliveira-Silva, Simon-Dack, Lefdahl-Davis, Adams, McConnell, Howell, Hess, Davis, Gonçalves, 2013). From personal experience, I do believe this study because we tend to be more attracted and empathetic when there’s physical interaction within partners which gives both of them another sign of reassurance for visible empathy in the relationship. Over time I’ve come to realize that the majority of the conflicts that occur in my relationship have some sort of relation to empathy being lacking from both partners. Overton and Lowry (2013) explain that it’s important to have self-awareness when it comes to one’s physical and emotional reaction to situations that involve conflict. By using self-awareness as a helpful reminder to not forget about portraying empathy during a conflict, we can help both ourselves and our partner.

After reviewing these articles, I was able to gain a new insight on how to effectively portray positive conflict management whenever I encounter a conflict. The most influential takeaway from this assignment was self-awareness. In many relationships that have experienced conflict, self-awareness has helped ensure that each partner gets what they wish to receive from the other partner. In my current relationship our biggest issue of conflict right now is from miscommunication and unrealization. We both tend to keep in mind our interests and values while not thinking about and understanding where the other person feels and where their feelings are coming from. Once you’ve developed adequate self-awareness and know how to potray conflict management you’ll be able to understand each other more and communicate effectively. 


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