How To Handle Conflict When Tensions Are High About COVID-19

Updated: Oct 29

Issues surrounding COVID-19, like mask requirements and vaccinations have led to a rise in confrontations, from front line workers with customers, to arguments with friends, family and neighbors.

A conflict is a disagreement or argument, commonly assumed to be something that needs resolving, but this is not always the case. Conflicts are not always negative, they can lead to moments of understanding and positive experiences. By being open and honest with others that we disagree with, we can begin to work together to develop solutions or find compromises.

Instead of treating conflict as something that needs “resolving,” treat it as something that needs “managing.” When “managing” conflicts what matters is not solving the problems but the affect/tone/emotion around which they are discussed.

Here are some tips and advice on how to handle conflict in a positive and respectful way.

Be Clear And Concise

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When dealing with conflict, it is best to keep your message clear and simple. By having a specific and direct message you will leave little room for misunderstandings. According to Psychology Today, there are 5 steps to effectively communicate your message:

  1. Establish your goal for the discussion, by having a clear goal you will know what you need to state in order to achieve it.

  2. Consider changing your verbiage or tone of voice to help the person you are speaking with better understand you.

  3. Organize your thoughts and make sure your message has a clear direction.

  4. Connect your message to the other speaker, this will help create empathy with them.

  5. If you have a specific goal in mind confirm that it has been reached. This will provide you with a clear end to your communication.

Consider these 5 steps when you are facing a conflict, they will help you keep you message clear and to the point.

Use “I” Statements When Setting Boundaries

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