Five Ways of Dealing with Conflict

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Conflict is generally undesired, and many don’t know what to do about them when in fact, they’re normal. Be it with the noisy upstairs neighbour, the flatmate that slams their doors at 4AM or the course mate that seems to know everything better than you, we all argue. Now that we’ve established the fact that conflicts are a part of life, it is important that we learn how to deal with them.

  1. Communication is key. It sounds cliché but it’s true. Ignoring the person you’re having conflict with won’t make it magically disappear. Be the better person and attempt a conversation. Even if it doesn’t work out the first time, try again. Show that you are willing to compromise and talk about what happened.
  2. Give it some time. While communication is definitely important, it might not be the best idea to start talking in the heat of the conflict. Be patient and wait a few days or even a week before attempting a conversation. Nobody wants to dodge hot coffee while trying to talk about an argument over lunch.
  3. Start your sentences with “I”. If you’re trying to work out your disagreement, try to explain to the other person how you are feeling. For example, instead of saying “You never ask me to hang out!”, say “I feel quite left out because we don’t do anything together”. That way, the other person won’t feel attacked by what you’re saying but you can still express your feelings.
  4. Get a third party involved. The university offers a wide range of student counselling and wellbeing services. You can also simply go to the help desk in the student union if you don’t know where to start. And if you feel like you need a friend, then it’s totally okay to rant about your conflict to them. But fair warning: Never directly involve your friends in the argument because it will just become bigger, more complicated and eventually impossible to solve!
  5. Agree to Disagree. Sometimes you just won’t reach common ground and that’s OK; it does not mean the relationship/friendship is over. Everyone has different backgrounds and stories and sometimes we just have contrasting opinions on things.

Lastly, it’s OK to have more conflicts at university. We’re thrown into a world of adulting and responsibilities but we still want to have fun like a teenager. Trust me, we all get overwhelmed sometimes. Just remember to be tolerant and respectful. You might think you’re right but be mindful that we all come from different walks of life and might have different opinions or responsibilities. 

Lea-Sophie Montjoie