4 Conflict Styles

During conflicts with people I’m close to, I typically
(mentally check those that apply) 

1. __ keep feelings about the disagreement to myself
2. __ bend to other person’s wishes
3. __ pursue my side of the issue
4. __ try working to satisfy both expectations

1. __ run from discussion of the topic
2. __ give in to others’ desires
3. __ take control so decision goes in my favor
4. __ exchange info to solve problem together

1. __ stay away from the issue
2. __ go along with others’ suggestions
3. __ try to convince the other person I’m right
4. __ bring all concerns out in open to resolve issue

1. __ try not to be involved in unpleasant exchange
2. __ pretend to agree just to satisfy expectations
3. __ accuse other person of wrongdoing
4. __ investigate issue to find acceptable solution

So tally up which number you checked the most, or tied.

Here are the results:
1) Turtle
Good: Keep calm, let it go
Bad: Denial and running away




2) Teddy bear
Good: Harmony and peace, everyone
Bad: Doormat tendencies






3) Shark
Good: Let’s deal with it
Bad: My way or the highway, loser!



4) Owl
Good: Respect and problem solving
Bad: Takes time




How’d you guys do?  I learned I’m a shark/turtle.  That means I’m a fiery control freak hiding inside a frozen shell of insecurity. Complex mess!

Our parents’ styles influence us
We grow up learning from observing our authority figures (and culture).   Which may or may not be a good thing.  Sometimes we need to realize unhealthy patterns and break through them, which takes a lot of observation and practice.

There is a time and place for each of these styles
Not every person or scenario calls for owl-like teamwork. We need to think about our response modes based on the other party’s maturity level.  It’s a matter of picking and choosing what hills to die on, so to speak.

We need to learn from others that complement us
People who are owls can learn from those who are turtles if the situation calls for it.  Teddy bears can learn from sharks how to be more honest in their opinions.  And so on, we all can benefit from differences throughout our community.

Conflicts can be used for good
If you’re like me, you see confrontation as too much drama.  I mean yeah, it’s boring if we agree on everything all the time but if a personal discussion about preferences start, I head for the door.  However, a relationship won’t evolve if one or both people constantly eat their feelings and back down.  I hear that respect goes a long way in solving conflicts, not that I tend to go that route often.

There are many factors that go into conflicts and they require wisdom and experience.  You can throw in the Myer-Briggs views to unravel causation and the level of selfishness as well as fear when it comes to our patterns.  Being reasonably open about issues in a loving manner is essential for success in life, otherwise we would be trapped in a cycle of resentment and mistrust.  In conclusion, the ideal is understanding and communication.  After all, that is what Christ models for us in His obedience that centers on the eternal outcome.

*dedicated to Ang*

3 responses to “4 Conflict Styles

  • Ang Shih

    Nice thoughts! Thanks for the shout out too! Very sweet. What a great reminder for myself!

    I tend to be a turtle bear and once bitten by a shark tend to never interact with that shark again rather swim away completely. You are right that we need to be able to have different conflict styles at different times- praise the Lord for His transformation and wisdom eh?

    Now, here’s the challenge for you. When was Jesus these styles and why?:-) I’ve thought of a few instances but would love your thoughts on it!

    Thanks for sharing!!

    • iheartccs

      Aw man, homework? But it’s summerrrrr…haha, you really are a teacher. I’ll give it a go but be warned, my mind is slow these days.

      Avoiding in Luke 4:29 (this one never fails to amuse)
      …and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went His way.

      Matthew 26:62 & 63
      The high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent.

      Competition in Matthew 4:10 (more like ownership)
      Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

      Collaborating in Matthew 14:17 &18
      “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
      “Bring them here to me,” he said.

      Competition/ Accommodating in John 2:4 (this one has a lot going on)
      “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

      • Ang Shih

        NICE JOB!!!! I LOVE that Jesus used different conflict styles and modeled that to us too!

        I keep thinking about the adulterous woman and how Jesus was confronted about what to do and He wrote in the sand and then forgave the woman. That’s a great way when backed in a corner to avoid conflict.

        He also overturned the tables (lion) when the turned his temple into a place of selling for unjust gain.

        Good stuff!!! Thanks for the great conversation and homework completion! A++!

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