Manage stress caused by conﬂict 173
But do not use this as a tactic merely to put off the inevitable, or
to goad the other person. Both will probably have the effect of
escalating the conict to no benet for either party.
Approach 2: Make concessions
Making concessions to the other person is a way of de-escalating
the conict, but beware that each concession may encourage
manipulative behaviour that seeks a further concession. So, make
each new concession smaller than the last – about half of the
value. This creates a self-limiting process. This is a good strategy
when you realise that ‘winning’ on this issue is less important than
maintaining good relations and can also sometimes set up a sense
of obligation that can mean you will win concessions ‘next time’.
If there can be no next time, then this approach has less value.
If you nd yourself using this approach a lot, check with yourself
that it is fully justied each time, and not a sign of low self-
esteem. Making concessions can be a passive behaviour, where
you do not expect the concession to be reciprocated. Then it
Approach 3: Play to win
When the outcome really matters to you and you have no qualms
about the risk of further escalation, then playing to win will be
your preferred approach. Use this strategy when you know you
are right and when there is no time for debate, or when there
is no chance of defusing the conict, and getting a resolution
quickly will minimise the harm.
But avoid the cycle of aggressive or bullying behaviour when
winning becomes an end in itself, and you do not consider the
consequences of the approach, nor the rights and wrongs of the
outcomes you are pressing for. This will lose you respect as well
as friends, and will ultimately fail when you come up against
someone bigger and stronger than you are.