Conflicts often escalate when one person can’t see the other’s side — and if you’ve ever stopped to take note, you’ll see that everyone has their own MO in an argument. Some withhold; others get passionate and insistent. Some are direct; others beat around the bush.
Knowing how the people around you typically deal with hurt feelings and disagreements that can escalate a conflict can ultimately help you come to a quicker resolution. Similarly, knowing how you tend to start and extend arguments or issues can help you see where you could improve your communication in heated moments. Personality is a big component in handling conflicts, so check out how each Myers-Briggs type deals.
Note: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality test that helps us to better understand ourselves and the people who surround us in our day-to-day lives. It tells us what we do with incoming information — how we process it and use it to make decisions. If you don’t know your type, a quick online quiz can help you find out. (Or, of course, the official assessment.)
Some people think you purposely provoke arguments, and that you will argue with anyone about anything. In reality, you’re not trying to brew conflict … you just can’t help stirring thoughtful discussion. You end up in spats most frequently when you want to test a theory. But when you know you’re dealing with someone’s feelings? Typically, you’ll avoid pushing buttons. But don’t stifle your feelings too much when you’re upset, or they’ll spill out at a tipping point in the future.
When you fight: To test a theory, or when you don’t care about the outcome.
When you don’t: When feelings are involved.
How you fight: You debate.
Typically, you avoid conflict. You’d rather have everyone just get along than constantly fight about silly stuff. That said, you have no problem speaking up if the situation calls for it — especially when someone is telling one of your friends how to act, feel, or live their life. Your bluntness in these moments can often silence the room.
When you fight: When someone is truly out of line.
When you don’t: Pretty much your typical MO.
How you fight: Directly.
Your default is “happy go lucky,” but you internalize a lot of hurt. Eventually, you will snap and start conflict when someone close to you can’t see the way their actions are affecting you or others. You can be fierce when it comes to what you value deeply, whether it’s protecting a significant other, or a cause that’s close to your heart. Ultimately, though, it’s important to realize that the first time others see your feelings is usually the moment conflict begins. You’re great at hiding the negative emotions and displaying the positive ones.
When you fight: When you can’t stifle your feelings any longer.
When you don’t: Most of the time, you let things roll.
How you fight: You are emotional.
You wear your heart on your sleeve with those who know you best, and you’re very sensitive to criticism. You hate disagreements and rarely fight, often suppressing your feelings or quietly pushing back when someone says something you disagree with. If the conflict is directed at you, you often shut down. Coming up with strategies for dealing with disagreements, and finding your voice in conflict, would serve you well into the future.
When you fight: Only when you’re at the very end of your long fuse.
When you don’t: You’d always rather stay mum.
How you fight: You quietly push back.
You occasionally debate for sport among your friends, but you dislike emotionally fueled arguments. If someone is critical of you (and you know you’re at fault), you’ll either own up to it or tell them exactly what they want to hear to stop the fighting ASAP. If your feelings are truly hurt or your pride is wounded, you are often rash in your reaction, sometimes blunt in your assessments. Learning to navigate around others’ sensitivities, and not have so much ego, will go a long way.
When you fight: Casual debates or when someone wounds your pride.
When you don’t: When you’re tuned out.
How you fight: You’re blunt.
You’re a liiiiiittle bit of a know-it-all, and won’t hesitate to tell someone they’re incorrect, especially during stimulating conversations. You’ll ask cool, collected questions to expose the problems in others’ arguments — or sometimes get unnecessarily technical about accuracy, which can make those around you upset. If you don’t care about the conversation or debate, though? You won’t even comment.
When you fight: When you think someone is incorrect.
When you don’t: When you’re tuned out.
How you fight: Calm, cool, matter-of-fact arguments.
You’re a lover, not a fighter. That said, you’re still sensitive! You act like everyone’s friend and the life of the party while quietly internalizing criticisms, setbacks, and hurt feelings that build up over time. This can sometimes result in a blow-up or meltdown at an inopportune moment, when your feelings demand to be voiced and heard. Speaking up sooner — when something is bugging you, before you start a fight — can help keep the peace for yourself and others.
When you fight: When you’ve been repressing your feelings too long.
When you don’t fight: When it’s not important, or when your feelings are hurt.
How you fight: Emotional outbursts.
If something is important to you, you have an opinion on it — and you’re always positive it’s the right one. When it comes to arguments, you’re equally as sure, and are usually stuck in your own POV, needing to “win” before the issue is settled. Sometimes it’s important to let things roll off your back instead of creating conflict, accepting that there isn’t always a right or wrong answer, just different opinions. (Your relationships will be better for it.)
When you fight: You’ll argue your POV until you “win.”
When you don’t fight: When something is irrelevant.
How you fight: Emphatically.
For the most part, you like when everyone gets along and you’re typically the peacemaker in your group; you help others see sides of the situation they may not otherwise. You do speak up, however, if you feel someone is being purposely difficult and exacerbating a problem, or if someone is intentionally misrepresenting themselves for personal gain.
When you fight: When you feel like others are being purposely difficult.
When you don’t: When you feel like it doesn’t matter.
How you fight: You can be contentious, sometimes petty.
You lead with that go-with-the-flow nature, but you often end up in arguments simply because you are direct and matter-of-fact about what you believe. You are never afraid to speak up if you disagree, especially as it relates to causes you feel strongly for or the people you love. If you’re wounded in an argument with someone close to you, you have the tendency to withdraw or get passive-aggressive … but not for long. You always get over it for those you love.
When you fight: When someone disagrees with your values.
When you don’t: When you want to preserve a relationship with someone you love.
How you fight: You are insistent.
You get into far more conflict at work than in your personal life, and that’s usually because you can’t stand incompetence or inefficiency. If you see a flaw in the system, you want to directly address it and move things forward as fast as possible — which can sometimes come off as blunt or insensitive. At home or socially, you are much more chill and can easily go with the flow (even when you disagree). If you took a dose of those social niceties and added it to your work life, things would probably go more smoothly.
When you fight: When someone is making mindless mistakes at work.
When you don’t: When someone disagrees with you socially.
How you fight: Directly.
You will happily sit on the sidelines and let others discuss subjects in which you have little interest. But if it’s one of your areas of expertise? You have an “educate the masses” mentality. You will always point out inaccuracies and incorrectness, and some say you’re totally disagreeable. Although you argue for deeper understanding (yours and others), sometimes it’d be best to notice when a debate is getting too heated and dial it back.
When you fight: When someone is incorrect about a subject you know well.
When you don’t: When the outcome feels irrelevant.
How you fight: You bring proof.
You don’t usually start arguments. In fact, you’d rather go about your business than get into silly conflicts. But you can be very stubborn when it comes to your long-held views and ways of doing things. You know your core values and your routines, and they are pretty fixed. However, if someone you love is insistent, you usually soften after the conflict.
When you fight: When someone wants to change your way of doing things.
When you don’t: When you aren’t confident about a given subject matter.
How you fight: Reactively.
You are able to absorb a lot of emotion and not let it affect you, because you work on self-control quite a bit. However, you’re very sensitive and you’re not above internalizing slights and hurts (perceived or real). If your buttons are pushed too much, you tend to be petty or withholding toward the person you feel is at fault. Your biggest trouble spot, which sometimes escalates conflicts instead of snuffs them out, is vocalizing your deepest feelings to others.
When you fight: When you’ve been slighted or hurt too many times.
When you don’t: When you’re dealing with others’ heated emotions.
How you fight: You are petty.
You are practically a therapist and mediator when it comes to others’ problems and conflicts. You usually can pick up on what others are feeling, so you know how to de-escalate issues that pop up in social settings. The trouble you have is directly telling others how you feel. You often simply cut people out, instead of getting to the root of the issue. It’s important to realize others are not nearly as skilled at reading people as you are. When you feel slighted, vocalize it — and understand the other party might not see the pain you feel.
When you fight: Rarely. You vent to others instead of the source.
When you don’t: You mediate and soothe, mostly.
How you fight: You slam the door.
You will stand up for those you love, those who don’t have a voice, or causes you feel strongly about, but you often don’t stand up for yourself enough. You would rather let others’ opinions and preferences dictate the flow of events. The ability to go with the flow works in a lot of situations, as long as you’re not harboring negative feelings or resentment about not getting your way.
When you fight: For others, for your values.
When you don’t: If it just comes down to preferences in a given situation.
How you fight: You appeal to others’ emotions or values.
Jenna Birch is a journalist, a dating coach, and author of The Love Gap (Grand Central Life & Style, January 2018). Her relationship column appears on Yahoo every Monday. To ask her a question, which may appear in an upcoming post, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “YAHOO QUESTION” in the subject line.
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