Conflict is a common thing in this universe. This particular thing is very evident from the largest structure of creation to the tiniest one. Nevertheless, there are still ways to resolve it. And that is what this paper is all about – particularly in relation to covert conflicts. Covert conflict behavior, in the first place, reflects indirect ways of manifesting conflicts between individuals (Gullotta & Adams, 2008). It is simply doing other things instead of directly solving the real concerns. Thus, in reality, covert conflict behavior just doesn’t help at all.
One example of such condition is when I and my girlfriend were having a tough discussion one night inside a bus. As usual, it was about plans about having time with the family during the vacation. Unfortunately, I told her I will not be able to come; it happened that I already made a commitment on a meeting for my work, and the day of both events/activities is the same. From that moment on, until we arrived to our destination, she just remained facing the window – kind of thinking deeply – and kept silent unlike before.
Such covert behavior hindered our communication at those moments. I was actually asking her whether she was alright or not, and she just says that she’s fine. Nevertheless, I had a doubt in mind, thinking that what I meant to tell her affected her emotions. But I cannot assume it absolutely; her behavior is a covert one. I didn’t even talk about it anymore, so as not to trigger hard feelings any further. What I only did during the travel is make her watch and talk to me about the film being shown in the television inside the bus. Afterwards, when we got off the bus, we simply bade goodbye to each other.
The conflict remained unsolved for about 3 days; she still remained a little angry with me. The calls that we had each day became just simple communication, which is similar to having one with an ordinary friend. Nevertheless, at the third day, we finally got on the grips of what really caused our disagreement. She asked me for pardon for lying (a form of covert behavior) to me, saying that she is just fine. She became honest to tell me that she just became sad to know that I chose work as a greater priority than to have time with our families. Then, I took that time as an opportunity to express myself and to explain my decision. Thankfully, to cut the story short, although I can no longer change the time of our meeting, we came to an understanding of one another and our communication/interaction gradually came back to normal.
Solving the conflict was not easy. It cost her to realize that she needed to tell me what she really thinks and feels. I was not able to determine her feelings with her [covert] behavior of staring at the window while affirming that everything fine. Moreover, it also cost me to explain to her everything about the situation. I realized my mistake of not considering the time for family bonding which I was already aware of ahead of time. And I have to explain it to her.
The only thing that I knew I have to do is to talk to her about the issue. And that calls me to initiate conversation. In fact, the first thing that I thought to do is just remain silent as well. But since we normally talk extensively to each other, I just didn’t see that it is a good idea. Making her watch the movie didn’t work as well. Nevertheless, I didn’t stop calling her over the phone. And that kept her aware of our relationship, and that we should be honest to one another.
If I was not able to call her or if I just let her silence remain, it would only trigger her bitterness more. I had to make time for her, letting her know that I am very much aware of our relationship – which leads us to consider reconciliation and the resolution of the present conflict. We did not stop talking to each other because this will keep us open to one another. And that, I believe, led us to an honest confession of our true concern in the present time.
Gullotta, T. P., & Adams, G. R. (2008). Handbook of adolescent behavioral problems: Evidence-based approaches to prevention and treatment. New York, NY: Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.