What Is Conflict?

Conflict is any situation in which opposing forces are present. Characters must face and overcome these forces in order to progress the story forward. This is why conflict is essential to any good story – it drives the plot and forces characters to make choices that impact their lives. It also allows readers to see how the characters change and grow throughout their struggles.

Often when people think of conflict, they imagine a physical altercation like a fist fight or an argument. While these situations do contain some elements of conflict, they don’t always fully define the concept of conflict. There are many more ways for characters to interact with each other that can lead to a clash of values, ideas, and opinions. In fact, some of the most interesting conflicts are internal and don’t involve direct opposition to another person.

The first step in conflict resolution is identifying the underlying causes of the disagreement. This involves active listening and understanding the other person’s viewpoint. It also involves a willingness to compromise. Often, it’s helpful to have a neutral third party mediator who can help both sides identify the issues they are facing and find a solution that works for everyone involved.

Conflict can be destructive when it’s left unaddressed, especially in a work environment. In such a setting, it can cause frustration and distrust among team members, as well as lower productivity and satisfaction. To avoid this, managers should address conflict as soon as it arises and take steps to prevent the problem from escalating into a full-blown conflict.

To do so, they must understand the different types of conflict and how to resolve them. There are many different strategies to choose from, such as a mediator, reducing interdependence, and using a dispute resolution process that emphasizes communication and respect for each other’s needs and preferences. In addition, managers should promote a culture of open communication and encourage employees to seek out creative alternatives when they encounter a challenge.

As you consider the different types of conflict, think about your own personal experiences and how they have shaped your values. You may even be able to relate to one of your own conflicts by thinking about someone in your life with whom you have clashed over a specific issue. Then, take the time to explore how these clashes have changed your character and how they’ve impacted your relationship with that person. This can give you valuable insights into the way you should approach writing conflict in your own stories.