How many times have you put off talking about an issue you were having with someone because you "don't like confrontation"? Whether it's a conflict with a partner, friend, or boss, plenty of us dread having to bring up an issue so much that we just keep putting it off.
Megan Fleming, PhD, a sex and relationship therapist in New York City, says that it's completely normal to dislike conflict. Disagreements can be inherently uncomfortable, and who among us would willingly sit in discomfort if we could do the opposite?
"Part of human nature is that we don’t like to be uncomfortable, and a lot of people feel like they can sweep [the issue] under the rug and it’ll go away, but we know that doesn’t happen," she says. "The growth is always in the discomfort."
Dr. Fleming says that when someone has a strong difference of opinion and we imagine having to confront them about it, we likely think that confrontation will involve aggression.
"Aggression feels unsafe, and if you imagine [the conversation is] going to be confrontational, your body is preparing to be defensive and get into protection mode," she says. "From that place, we’re not in a position to truly hear or understand where the other person is coming from."
Ahead, Dr. Fleming breaks down a few tips to make confrontation a little less scary.