Conflict Triggers. How to deal with Difficult People

1. Using the Class Poll “Conflict Triggers,” select the main cause YOU BELIEVE to be a trigger. Briefly explain why you identified this trigger as being a primary cause of conflict.

Conflict is defined as a disagreement between two or more parties. It is not synonymous with the word “fight” and its practical usage suggests that there is a difference. Though both can be harmful to those engaged. Conflict can arise over the slightest things in a class poll setting, and it can escalate into a major confrontation between several people. Conflict occurs in-class polls because no two individuals are alike and each of us brings our own “world view’ with us wherever we go. Our world view is shaped by our childhood experiences, our economic situations, our family life or home life, our current health situation, our overall health, our education, our hobbies and interest, our entertainment choices, our friends and relatives and other relationships, our background in similar situations, our assumptions of the other person (or people) involved, and last but not the least our concept of ourselves (Apodaca, 2021).

In a class poll, misunderstandings resulting from botched communication is the top cause of conflicts. Communication misunderstandings can also result not only from the challenges of what is being communicated but rather how it is communicated. Cultural and racial diversity easily ignite this kind of communication misunderstanding. This kind of conflict can be resolved or avoided by agreeing on how to behave. Misunderstanding can be further reduced by being skillful at effective listening, giving full attention, being genuinely interested, catching non-verbal messages, paraphrasing, and showing a willingness to collaborate (Apodaca, 2021).

2. Reflect on a recent conflict you had with a friend, family member, co-worker, or another person. In your own words, what escalated the interaction for you, or what was your trigger? These will typically be feelings you have experienced in the past such as feeling excluded, powerless, unheard, judged, etc. You do not have to describe the event.

I had a conflict with a colleague at my job. The manager had given instructions that had to be passed by the staff on duty to the next shift. Due to communication barriers, this colleague did not transmit the correct information she got from the manager, and the job was not done. The manager was very furious. What escalated the conflict that ensured was the fact that the colleague got angry with me when the manager reprimanded her and she refused to speak with me even though it was clear she failed to understand the manager’s instructions.

3. After reviewing the Reading & Resources folder on Conflict Management Styles, identify which style was used by the other person in the conflict situation you just identified and how this style either helped or hindered resolution.

The conflict management style my colleague used was “Avoiding conflict-handling mode”. By avoiding to speak with me, she instead made the problem worse because it takes a lot of energy to ignore someone. But if she had collaborated with me in resolving the issue, we would have identified the problem and found a solution to it.


Apodaca, M., (January 7, 2021). How to deal with Difficult People: Expert Techniques. Retrieved From:

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