It is hard to avoid. Very much a reason why I have been late in getting to writing this post. Conflict arises whenever you have a relationship with another person. Your expectations and ideas will differ at some point. I'm one of those people that would rather weave their way out of it and keep the peace. This often comes at my expense. The ability to address conflict effectively is a skill that is learnt. Seems it takes me a while to learn as I have had several goes through similar situations.
Picture your favourite coffee mug. This is you. With everyday use it inevitably succumbs to chips and cracks that appear at the weakest points. This is the conflict that you encounter. As we fill our cup, the cracks can be strengthened before they leak or break the cup. So it is with conflict. If we are able to identify it and handle it constructively we are strengthened and able to build better relationships.
It is important that you distinguish between the problem that you are having and the person that you have the problem with. Thinking through responses and who you are responding to, beats being spontaneous and emotionally charged. Look at the situation and what is required of you. Describe what you did and what happened and then look at a solution for the future.
Steven Covey in his book '7 Habits of Highly Effective People' outlines an effective strategy for creating a win/win situation. No one likes to lose. Is the battle worth losing the relationship? Sometimes we need to put the problem on the table and come around the same side and work on a solution that both parties are happy with. Often in the discussion we come up with something together that we couldn't have on our own.
I find one of the hardest parts of conflict resolution is in dealing with the person in future situations. It is natural to feel awkward and unsure how to deal with them or what to say. Time is a healer. It sometimes takes the decision to forgive that allows us freedom from those feelings. I found this quote at Kristi Stephens blog.