Interpersonal Conflicts Examples: Meaning & Management

Interpersonal conflicts occur when two or more people clash or disagree over a subject matter. Common examples include pseudo conflicts, facts conflicts, and policy conflicts.

Although these conflicts are usually not physical, understanding the cause and how to resolve them is very crucial. 

This guide is a compilation of the various types and examples of interpersonal conflicts that can ensue anywhere and how they can be managed successfully. 

Types of Interpersonal Conflict

Interpersonal conflicts can play out in different ways; common types and examples include:

Pseudo conflict

Pseudo-conflict is a product of differences in perspective or misunderstanding. This occurs when you interpret a statement (for example, an idiom) literally or wrongly. 

This type of conflict can be easily resolved by explaining the true intent behind the statement to the recipient. 

Fact conflict

This occurs when two or more people disagree on the facts surrounding a statement. Mr. A can say “the Dollar is currently in its lowest form ever in the exchange rate market” based on his experience.

Mr. B can disagree if he has witnessed the currency fall lower at some point. To resolve this type of conflict, research must be made to know who is right. 

Value conflict

Value conflict occurs when two or more people or groups have different notions or values about something. People often see things differently when issues regarding abortion, gun control, explicit content, and religion are discussed.

The best way to resolve a value conflict is to listen carefully to both parties and find a common ground. You can also resort to explaining that everyone is allowed to have their own beliefs and value so far they don’t force it on others.

Ego conflict

This is one of the most common examples of interpersonal conflicts. It occurs when two or more people disagree on something and both parties feel their pride or ego has been bruised.

Ego conflict can go on for a long without a solution. One way to resolve it is to wait for the situation to become less heated before calling both parties for a discussion.

At this point, emotion levels are normal and it is easy to unite both parties.

Policy conflict

Policy conflict mostly occurs between groups of people. It is a form of disagreement on which procedure, rule, or policy is ideal for addressing a particular problem. 

To manage a policy conflict, you must listen to all arguments and remind everyone about the goal of the project. From there, you can consider all opinions and come up with a solution acceptable to the majority (if not all).

Meta conflict

This is a situation where two or more people argue about arguing. For example, a statement like “you never listen to me or support me” can lead to further arguments in an attempt to defend yourself.

Hence, it is best to peacefully walk away from meta-conflicts and resolve the issue when things have calmed. 

Effects of Interpersonal Conflicts

When conflicts are not resolved, they can harm people’s relationships at home, in offices, and in communities at large. Products of unresolved conflicts include:

  1. Mutual hostility: can lead to personal attacks, shouting, verbal abuse, and stonewalling.
  2. High-stress level – ensues from the psychological effect of not being free or at peace with a colleague or a group of colleagues because you have unresolved issues.
  3. Eroded trust: unresolved disagreements can also shrink the trust a person or an employee has for you. 
  4. Decreased morale or motivation – friction between the head and employees of an organization may result in low morale.
  5. Less productivity – less productivity is often a result of low morale. This is the case when employees are not on the same page with their colleagues or leaders.

5 Effective Ways to Manage Interpersonal Conflicts

There are various ways you can manage interpersonal conflicts. To complement some of the tips I provided when explaining the types or examples of interpersonal conflicts, here are proven ways to manage conflicts:

1. Collaboration 

To collaborate is to mutually agree to discuss and address the issue which resulted in a conflict. For example, if you are struggling as a parent with teenagers; sitting them down to understand their concerns may go a long way.

Collaboration is a gradual process but one of the best ways you can resolve any interpersonal conflict. 

2. Give room for compromises 

Compromise requires two or more parties to tweak their taste for a common goal to be reached. Instead of arguing about which color to go for between red or blue, if both parties are okay with purple, a compromise can be made to avoid needless conflict.

3. Be accommodating

Being accommodating is when you allow the opposing party wins an argument for the sake of peace. This technique can come in handy if the offender will only be with you temporarily. 

4. Competing or the use of veto power 

This is a forceful way of resolving conflict used by high-ranking officials. Competing occurs when a leader or executive forces his or her will over others to halt disagreements.

Competing may seem harsh but may be necessary in cases where decisions have to be made swiftly with little or no room for debate. You should only opt for this method when necessary.

5. Avoid it

Avoiding conflict is best when emotion levels are seriously heightened. This prevents unnecessary escalation especially if the conflict is not worth it.

As good as avoiding a conflict may sound, it should be followed up with finding a resolution when the storm calms. It is unhealthy to bury your feelings and continue beefing.


What are the four sources of interpersonal conflict?

The sources of interpersonal conflict include personal differences, role incompatibility, informational deficiencies, and environmental stress

Why is interpersonal conflict bad?

Interpersonal conflict often results in distraction and ultimately affects the productivity level of the team.

It also affects proper communication and may lead to people withdrawing from a team. 

How do you improve interpersonal skills?

You can improve your interpersonal skill by controlling your emotions, genuinely acknowledging the good traits in people, and being an active listener 

Final Thought

Interpersonal conflicts are completely natural. To carefully manage and resolve them, you must know the type of conflict you are dealing with. 

After identifying this conflict, feel free to choose any of the recommended tips to salvage the situation.

I hope you found this guide helpful. For more tips on how to express yourself during conflicts, please see what are communication skills.

Thanks for reading.