Sometimes having a conversation about conflict can be difficult, especially when the person you are in conflict with is a close friend. When your conflict is online, there is a range of ways to start up a conversation. These could include online chat or text message, commenting on the post or talking to the person face-to-face. It’s important to consider each of these methods and thank about what will suit the conflict situation.

Let’s look at the methods of conversation Jess considers during her online conflict.

Commenting on the post directly

This method of communicating does have its benefits. It would immediately draw Anna’s attention to the post and how she feels about it. It is also less direct as Jess is a bit nervous about talking to Anna face-to-face.

The consequences of this are that other people may become involved and the conflict could escalate further. Anna may also misinterpret the comment as it can be difficult to get a full understanding with only text on a page. This could also further escalate the conflict and result in further damage to the friendship.

Create a post in response

In this video, Jess considers creating a revenge post with a picture of Anna kissing someone who isn’t her boyfriend. This removes the opportunity to directly talk to Anna about the problem and focuses on making Anna feel like Jess does now.

Revenge post

While posting something like this may help Anna to understand how Jess is feeling and possibly make Jess feel better about the situation briefly, it may do significant damage to the friendship.

If Jess chooses to go down this route, she needs to consider Anna’s possible reaction, the likelihood of the conflict expanding and possibly losing the friendship.

Texting/private messaging or face to face contact

Similar to the option of commenting on the post, private messaging provides Jess with an opportunity to explain her issues without a face-to-face meeting. It also decreases the possibility of the conflict expanding to involve other people who might comment on a public post.

If Jess carefully considers the content of her message she may even be able to explain her opinion more effectively than she would if she felt nervous in a face-to-face meeting. However there are also other consequences for her to consider. Anna may ignore the message entirely or misinterpret the message. Without a face-to-face element there is a greater chance for miscommunication as it removes elements like facial expressions and body language that add depth and clarity to face-to-face conversations.

Have a conversation with Anna Directly (Face-to-face)

Face-to-face contact, while not considered by Jess, is another option to resolve the conflict. Though it may initially be more awkward and she may be less assertive due to her nerves it removes a number of the negative consequences discussed in the previous methods. Elements including tone, facial expressions and body language add to the conversation and may help Jess and Anna to resolve their conflict.

Some important things to consider before having face to face conversations in conflict are:

  • Be clear in what has happened, what you are feeling and what is important
  • Think through how and when you will approach the other party
  • Plan ahead what you might say and some responses you might expect