Communication Wisdom

Gathered for you

This is where conflict is hiding in your life

awareness beyond skills blog conflict Sep 25, 2023

Conflict is not just an argument. 

This is a common misconception. Conflict often starts much earlier as a quiet feeling of unease, a conversation replaying in the back of your mind, an awkward silence that gets brushed over.


Reimagine conflict as series of red flags 🚩 Look for signs that there may be some discord, some unease, or a lack of flow. 


How do you respond to (even a little bit of) conflict?


Try these on for size…


🚩 Maybe you ignore it, pretend it didn’t happen.

🚩 Maybe you feel annoyed by it, and become slightly defensive.

🚩 Maybe you notice it, and try to diffuse it with humour.

🚩 Maybe you sense it, start to disengage.

🚩 Maybe you’re unnerved by it, you make your excuses and leave.

🚩 Maybe you become overwhelmed by it, and just give in to the proposed plan.

These are early warning signs, your red flags. I tell you now, I have done all of these things over the years, and with certain people (who shall remain unnamed), I still do some of these things. 💗


Conflict is a part of life. And there can be ongoing subtle tensions with some people because your lives have to cross over even though you would not normally choose to be in each other’s lives. These are your difficult in-laws, annoying colleagues, nosy or noisy neighbours, and maybe even your own siblings.


It can be an icky vibe that quietly festers!


Let’s unpack this a bit more…


We often think of conflict as a FIGHT - a strong verbal disagreement, or a full blown argument. Conflict is so much more pervasive and sneaky than that. It is likely lurking unaddressed in lots of little corners of your life, and if I'm honest, this is somewhat unavoidable. 


But this is actually a good thing (stay with me).


You can avoid the escalation of conflict into a full blown hoohah, feeling pressured and becoming avoidant, going down the slippery slope of passive aggressive comments, or a silent yet painful relationship severance.


How can you find these red flags? 


Have you had any recent differing opinions with someone, conflicting interests, misaligned values, or different perceptions on something?


Can you sense any emotional distance, passive aggression, avoidance, or strained interactions with anyone? 


These flags can show up verbally or nonverbally, explicitly or implicitly. Sometimes it is short lived other times it becomes prolonged and entrenched for lifetimes.


(📌 Remember, these may be things you are doing as well as something you are experiencing from other people.)


So as you can see, conflict is so much more (or less) than a fight. It comes in lots of forms, many of them insidious and underhanded.


If you aren’t sure, here are just some examples of the sneaky conflict corners you may be sitting in and not recognising as conflict.


  • 🚨 Quiet Competitive Atmosphere: You and a coworker vie for recognition, creating an unspoken competitive tension.
  • 🚨 Unshared House Chores: You quietly resent unequal distribution of household tasks.
  • 🚨 Missed Social Event: You feel excluded when friends discuss an event you weren't invited to.
  • 🚨 Overlapping Creative Ideas: You sense a subtle tension when colleagues' ideas compete for attention in a brainstorming session.
  • 🚨 Sibling Attention: You notice silent rivalry for attention among you and your siblings in a large family gathering.
  • 🚨 Undiscussed Budget Concerns: You are worried about financial inequality between you and your partner without voicing concerns directly.
  • 🚨 Parenting Disagreements: You diverge over parenting approaches with other family members, but it’s never fully discussed.
  • 🚨 Unspoken Resentment: You quietly harbour resentment over a friend's perceived success.
  • 🚨 Introvert-Extrovert Dynamics: You struggle to balance social preferences within a group setting.
  • 🚨 Unaddressed Hurt Feelings: You feel hurt by a close friend, but avoid discussing your emotions.


If these set off your alarm bells then don’t stress, you are in good company. 


With the right tools you can address conflicts at the red-flag-stage, waaaaay before they crescendo or result in relationship breakdown. You can CLEAR THE AIR and restore relationship harmony on the go.


Begin now by identifying the red flags and sneaky conflict corners in your life. Not only with your mind, but with your whole body. The vibe doesn’t lie. 


Thea May is a communication coach and guide. She helps both the quiet-types and the social butterflies find their flow in speaking and writing.


With over a decade's worth of spoken-communication coaching under her belt, Thea now brings her own unique approach to the table.


Her clients and community love Thea because of her state-changing exercises and compelling reframes of communication norms.


👉 Find out more here: Working With Voice

🤳🏾 WhatsApp Thea with your questions or to connect.

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🪧 Some more free content for you


⚡️Change your relationship with conflict by taking my Reimagining Conflict course.  Inside this course are new and liberating communication tools, strategies, & reframes.

👀 Find out how the SIX Fight-or-Flight stress responses that govern our behaviour and hinder healthy communication.

👀 Head over to my instagram for more bite sized content like this.


👀 Read my blog on the power of consent in conflict conversations. It lists Nine Surprising Ways a Consent Mindset Can Completely Transform Your Conflict Conversations.



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