Avoiding a conflict is sometimes a strategic move.
We avoid conflicts for the obvious reasons that dealing with them makes us scared, threatens our sense of security, or we feel as though we don’t have the competency to address them in a way where the outcome will work for us.
But, then there are the non-obvious reasons to avoid conflicts.
One of which is to have the conflict in another way, in another way, with a party that has already been weakened emotionally by engaging in a previous conflict.
This is practicing avoidance as a negotiation strategy.
Another non-obvious reason to avoid conflict is that telling the story of avoidance has more resonance with another party we are currently embroiled with, rather than telling a story of resolution and success.
This is practicing avoidance as a storytelling strategy.
Still, another reason to avoid a conflict is that we don’t care how the conflict works out because the conflict “working out” is a short-term strategy that changes the balance of power for the other party in the conflict. And quite frankly, we don’t really care about how they work out their problems.
This is practicing avoidance as a long-game, future-oriented strategy.
The non-obvious strategies matter more in the long run than the short-term reasons we articulate, defend, and promote to other people, the other party, or even quietly to ourselves.
More deliberation—and articulation—of the long-term impact of avoiding a conflict as a strategic move, will serve to move the use of avoidance from a tactic we’re embarrassed to employ and lack the appropriate level of self-awareness to explain, to a strategy that has real benefits for ourselves and others.