UNDERSTANDING
CONFLICT
Avoiding

You tend to withdraw from situations and people which you find uncomfortable and prefer to not pursue your needs or those of others.

The avoider is sometimes known as the turtle, because it pulls its head in and hides in its shell when conflict arises.

It is possible to avoid a conflict by choosing not to talk about what’s bothering you. You can also physically avoid a person you are in conflict with.

Avoiding a conflict can be a good choice in situations where you think that:

  • You need time to calm down, gather information or speak to other people before deciding what to do
  • It’s really a minor issue and you can just drop it and forget about it
  • Interacting with the people involved would expose you to significant risk of harm
  • The conflict is likely to disappear in the near future (e.g. because the other person is about to leave the university) and it’s not worth the effort of dealing with it before then

However, avoiding a conflict can be a bad response if:

  • You are simply trying to pretend that the conflict does not exist
  • The conflict is likely to escalate
  • You are avoiding out of habit
  • There could be future harm or cost if the situation goes unresolved
  • You go to a lot of trouble and inconvenience (e.g. missing classes) in order to avoid someone
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