Understand the Different Interpersonal Types Of Conflict

We see many types of conflict in our interpersonal experiences. Understanding them is the first step to resolving conflict before they damage our interpersonal relations . We invest time and effort into our interpersonal relationships. Understanding interpersonal types of conflict can greatly reduce the potential damage to our interpersonal experiences. People are so different. With different personalities, views, opinions, priorities, responsibilities, emotions, and interests, it's surprising we don't have more interpersonal conflict in our lives. Generalizing some different root causes of conflict will help us at least understand an individual. As the communication process breaks down, it is important to understand why the individual we are engaged with is prepared to enter a conflict which could potentially damage the relationship.

Types Of Conflict


Perhaps the strongest influence in conflict, it is also the most elusive. Emotions may be hidden behind our communication resulting in conflict. Effective interpersonal communication often breaks down quickly and we have a hard time understanding why. We often have no idea why an individual is acting the way they are due to experiences, situations, and feelings from their work and professional lives of which we are unaware. Unfortunately, we allow the individual we are engaged with to trigger emotional reactions from us. Once we create a breakdown in the communication process, emotions can take over. Emotions ultimately result from the other classes of conflict. When powerful emotions are present before we even engage an individual, they can create havoc in our interpersonal experiences.


With so many different people, we simply differ in opinion. Different educations, life styles, professions, and interests ultimately create differences in opinions. Differences in opinions can be very healthy in a relationship. Communicating our thoughts on a subject as we engage in an interpersonal experience can be educational and rewarding. Unfortunately, it can also be frustrating and trigger powerful emotions. We communicate with individuals every day in conversation where there is no right answer. This is why the interpersonal process is so much fun, but also why it can become very frustrating.


Our core values are very important to us. Our Values are created by our families, friends, and those important influences in our lives. To us they are not just opinions, but actually what is "Right" and "wrong" to us. We live our lives by them, and they are very important to us. As people differ, so do our values. We are all raised in different families, and have different influences on our lives. As we engage individuals in interpersonal experiences, our values influence our communications. It is important to realize that these are not opinions to us, but what we believe to be right and wrong. This can trigger great passion in our communication resulting in conflict.


Our Beliefs are developed from our families, friends, and influential people in our lives. As we mature, we develop beliefs pertaining to religion, politics, history, and many other things. We have preconceived beliefs based on the beliefs of others we have grown up with that influence our lives. We believe these to be true and fact, although we cannot prove them. As we engage people in interpersonal experiences, our beliefs ultimately become part of conversation and communication. Differences of beliefs can trigger frustration and powerful emotions. When individuals with different beliefs are not open to receiving a different perspective, conflict may result.


Many people refer to personality as one of the interpersonal types of conflict. Actually it is the presentation of effective interpersonal communication. We interact with many different personality types. We can sometimes end up in conflict as we communicate with a very opposite personality type. Usually, it is not the personality which causes the conflict, but instead the presentation of the message sent to an individual. As communicators, we must use good interpersonal skills to effectively communicate with different personality types. We must change the way we present our message to a strong personality type, and change it yet again for an emotional personality type. Personalities do no clash, but if we do not change the way in which we [resent our message in the communication process, conflict can result.

With so many different interpersonal types of conflict, we must try to drill down to the root cause when we experience interpersonal conflict. Only by understanding the root cause, can we begin to resolve conflict. When there is no "right" or "wrong" answer, we sometimes have a difficult time opening our minds up to different opinions, values, and beliefs. Even if presented properly for the personality types we are engage with, powerful emotions may be hidden and triggered creating breakdowns in the communication process and leading to conflict. We must remember that conflict may damage interpersonal relationships and decide if the conflict is worth it!

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