While we all indulge in some level of conflict avoidance from time to time… dodging an annoying coworker, not talking about how much money you may have spent on shoes or video games, etc. There are other times that avoiding conflict could have a much deeper impact on your life.
Avoiding issues will often just delay a confrontation. While a disagreement may be stressful, the lingering stress, anxiety and worry will only continue, and grow the longer it is avoided. Prolonged avoidance will cause distrust and negative feelings to grow, further complicating the issue.
In addition, extended avoidance can result in subservient behavior and a loss of personal will. A relationship that devolves to this state is very “toxic,” becoming more and more difficult to resolve or to find a way out.
There is some truth to the saying “good guys finish last.” People that are overly agreeable, that avoid conflict and seek compromises are paid less and work longer hours that their peers who vocalize their issues. While it may seem counterintuitive to someone that has been conditioned to avoid confrontations, getting issues out into the open and working to find equitable solutions is a much better option.
If you find yourself in a place where you feel like you are no longer heard, or that your needs are being ignored… Perhaps it is time to reach out and get some help. A trusted friend, a sympathetic coworker or maybe one of the leaders in your church can provide you with some perspective and may even help you to mediate your conflict.
Deeper issues may require the help of a professional counselor, to help you regain your confidence. It might be a good idea to get some assertiveness training before your next evaluation for promotion, so you have the tools you need to advocate for yourself.
If you feel like you need someone to talk to, but don’t know where or how to start, call the National Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, any day, 24/7.