8 Problem with Low Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness Avoiding Style

While there are billions of people in this world finding someone whose thinking matches your own is quite challenging. It is acceptable for people to think differently, and your thoughts don’t need to align with those who are close to you or whom you love the most.

People’s thoughts and perspectives are tailored by the environment in which they grew up, the values they follow, and the people who have influenced them. In a world with such diverse opinions, it’s common for two people to not agree on a common conclusion.

Have you ever had to deal with people with whom instead of arguing you thought of simply avoiding the discussion? If yes, what was your reason for doing so? Was avoiding them in that situation the best possible approach you could have thought of?

Today, the focus of this article is on the conflict resolution style which is known for its characteristics of low assertiveness and low cooperativeness. It is often referred to as the Avoiding style of conflict resolution, and today, we will explore how effective it can be in resolving conflicts. Additionally, we will also examine the advantages and disadvantages of using this conflict style and delve into its impact on relationships, let’s get started!

Which Conflict Management Style has Low Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness?

A person with Low Assertiveness is unable to express their thoughts firmly in front of others, they face difficulty in openly expressing their emotions, and they often keep many things hidden inside their mind. Sometimes, even if they want to, they cannot assert their feelings and emotions, and it is very difficult for them to stand up for themselves and put forward the things for which they want to take a stand.

Low Cooperativeness means that a person is not very collaborative during a conflict, for them, concerns for self are more important than the concerns of others. For them, fulfilling their own desires matters more than addressing the concerns of others, and such individuals often steer conflict resolution in their preferred direction by acting arbitrarily. These individuals do not want to listen to others until their opinion is heard, and they cooperate only when all their demands are met.

Thomas Kilmann in his two-dimensional model of conflict resolution theory has categorized low assertiveness and low cooperativeness as the Avoiding style of conflict resolution. When a person is both low on assertiveness and cooperativeness during a conflict, they neither openly express their views in front of everyone nor are they inclined to collaborate or compromise with others. They simply want to avoid the conflict and distance themselves from it before it escalates further.

Using the avoiding technique can temporarily set aside a conflict for some time. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the issue will be resolved or go away permanently; it may resurface later. Avoiding a conflict can have the benefit of temporarily calming the situation and preventing it from escalating to a higher level during that time as it provides a pause in the heated exchange, allowing emotions to cool down and potentially creating an opportunity for a more productive discussion later on.

Low Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness Avoiding technique is not a long-term resolution strategy because it doesn’t lead to any conclusion in the argument; it simply temporarily calms the matter down even though the other party may perceive it as rude and uncooperative behavior. However, sometimes it can prove to be the right approach, especially when you realize that either the other party is not ready for a discussion, or you do not wish to engage in conversation at the moment.

Understanding that avoiding conflict every time is not an appropriate strategy as repeatedly using it to narrowly escape the situation can build up frustration in others over time. Eventually, it could escalate into a major conflict that becomes difficult to avoid, and by that point, the situation may have deteriorated significantly.

Low Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness Pros and Cons

Advantages of Avoiding Conflict Style (Low Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness)

  • Temporarily calms down the situation.
  • Can be useful where you don’t have a clear understanding of the situation.
  • Avoids unnecessary stress and disruption of mental peace temporarily.
  • Avoids hampering relationships.
  • Restores normalcy and peace.
  • Avoids escalation of the argument.
  • Buys time to think about the solution carefully.
  • Helps maintain the status quo.
  • Eradicate unexpected consequences.
  • Helps you maturely deal with the situation.

Disadvantages of Avoiding Conflict Style (Low Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness)

  • Long-term resolution of the conflict is difficult.
  • Frustration builds up over time and can create problems in the future.
  • Can be taken as rude behavior by others.
  • Not an ideal conflict resolution style.
  • Can impact relations in the long term.
  • The problem is not resolved.
  • Matter can resurface again in the future.
  • Arguments may escalate significantly going forward.
  • This can lead to a communication gap.
  • Loss of trust and respect.

When might using Avoidance as a Conflict Handling Style become a problem?

Low Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness Avoiding conflict handling style can become a problem when:

  • Conflict Resolution is Important: When a conflict has reached a level where its resolution is crucial and cannot be ignored further then using the Low Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness avoiding technique may not be an ideal approach. If avoiding the conflict could potentially cause an unbearable loss, then it’s better not to avoid a conflict in such a case.
  • Another party is willing to Collaborate or Compromise: When you know that the other party is willing to collaborate or compromise, yet you choose to avoid them, it can indeed be considered inappropriate behavior on your part. This might lead others to refuse to collaborate and they might start avoiding you as well. In such cases, matters can worsen, making it difficult to peacefully resolve the conflict.
  • The matter has already escalated significantly: If a conversation has already deteriorated significantly, and you believe further avoidance is not an option, then you should not use this technique. It can indeed permanently damage relationships, and the losses incurred may be irreparable. When a situation has worsened to an extent that a compromise is a better option than avoidance, it’s wise to consider addressing the conflict directly.
  • It’s necessary to take a stand: When the situation calls for taking a stand, attempting to avoid it using this technique can indeed become problematic. It may lead to a loss of self-respect, erode trust, and even compromise your authority and power.
  • Conflict resurfaces again: If a past conflict resurfaces again that you had previously avoided, then avoiding it again may not be the right approach. This time, it could be more serious as the other party’s frustration might increase. Avoiding it once more could convey that you’re not taking the situation seriously and are treating it lightly.
  • You have the authority and power: When you have a higher authority and decision-making power then avoiding the situation may not be a good approach. Those who trust you and view you as a leader may become upset with your behavior, and you may lose their trust.
  • Your interference is required: In situations where you believe your intervention is necessary and your involvement can help resolve a complicated issue, avoiding the conflict is not the right approach. Avoiding it may lead it to take a more severe form, and what’s manageable today may become uncontrollable tomorrow.
  • When it starts impacting relationships: When your avoiding behavior starts negatively affecting your relationships, it’s better to stop using this technique and instead work on addressing others’ concerns to improve your relationships. The outcome of the Low Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness avoiding conflict style should ideally not lead to damaged relationships unless you genuinely do not care about the relations, whether they persist or not.

Avoid Avoiding Conflict | David Thornsen, PsyD | TEDxMuskegon

Why low assertiveness and low cooperativeness are not good in a relationship?

The Low Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness avoiding style is not good for conflicts within a relationship because it can lead to an increased likelihood of separations forming in the relationship. If you attempt to avoid addressing certain key matters or situations, they can become significant and uncontrollable in the future. Let’s understand this with an example.

Why avoiding conflict ineffective when dealing with interpersonal conflict?

Imagine if you and your partner are repeatedly arguing about the same issue. Avoiding it every time may not be a sign of a peaceful relationship. Sometimes, we may feel that the matter isn’t that important to us, but we forget to think that what might not matter to you today could be very crucial from your partner’s point of view. In such situations, brushing it off lightly can have serious consequences.

This can happen in several situations, such as when your partner wants to share a family-related concern with you, discuss their career aspirations, or argue about a topic that may not hold much value for you personally. Regardless of the subject, if you avoid discussing it with your partner, they may feel that you don’t respect their feelings and you may lose the trust you’ve built.

Trust, communication, and active listening are extremely important in a relationship, and even more crucial is the willingness to listen to the other person, make some adjustments, and compromise. In the Low Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness avoiding conflict style, these traits are entirely absent, especially when you don’t consider others’ concerns to be significant and prioritize your own concerns.

Using the avoiding conflict style in a relationship is advisable when the other person is using the competing style and is completely unwilling to listen. Typically, when you realize that talking may not lead to any benefit and could potentially worsen the situation, in such cases, using the avoiding conflict style may be a reasonable choice.

Or else, when you need a bit more time to understand the situation and gather different perspectives before you can form your own, you can also choose to avoid the conflict for a while. So, simply avoiding is not an effective conflict resolution technique, but it can be used effectively to buy some time to think about the matter deeply so that you can later resolve it peacefully.

How will someone who is low in both assertiveness and collaboration deal with conflict?

A person who having Low Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness can deal with a conflict in the following ways:

  • Take Help: In situations where you are unable to assert your thoughts yourself, you can seek the assistance of someone trustworthy who will articulate your ideas to others and play the role of a mediator in resolving conflicts.
  • Think Multi-dimensionally: You can view the situation from all angles and form a strong perspective that will give you the confidence to assert your thoughts firmly in front of others. It will also help you assess whether you should be willing to cooperate in such a situation or not.
  • Ask others to Cooperate: You can request others to cooperate by asking them to abandon the competing behavior and be more collaborative. This approach can help resolve the matter peacefully and collaboratively.
  • Learn to Speak Up: Usually, people struggle to express themselves strongly because they are confused about what matters to them. In such cases, it’s essential to think about what is important and what they genuinely care about. If required analyzing the situation a bit more deeply by jotting down important points on a piece of paper can be helpful.
  • Avoid the Situation: If you feel that talking to the other person will be of no use as they are showing an uncooperative attitude, then it’s better to avoid the situation so that the situation can calm down on its own over time.
  • Build Confidence and Empathy: Confidence building is important for people to openly express their heartfelt thoughts and stand firm on them. Additionally, empathizing with others can help understand the pain areas of others and provide them with support and compassion when needed.
  • Prioritize People and Relationships: When you value people and prioritize relationships, you won’t take conflicts related to them lightly, and avoid neglecting any related issues. Prioritizing relationships is important so that conflicts can be addressed before they escalate.



To conclude, I covered a comprehensive overview of the Avoiding conflict resolution style which is characterized by Low Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness. We also learned about the advantages and disadvantages of this style and discussed the circumstances in which it can become problematic. Additionally, we emphasized that Low Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness Avoiding style may not be a good approach in relationship matters as it can create differences in relationships. I will be glad if you find the article helpful, and I appreciate your engagement. Feel free to drop your views in the comments section and give us more insights on this topic.

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