10 Reasons Why Collaboration is Better than Competition in Relationships

If you have read my article Thinking Beyond Perspectives, I explained in detail how people often confuse their arrogance with self-respect and take a firm stand on matters that ultimately ruin their inner peace in the long term. Multidimensional thinking and thinking beyond the frame of perspective play an important role in peacefully resolving any conflict or situation.

No matter what the issue, be it related to your personal life or not, it’s better to resolve it harmoniously without escalating it, because, in one way or another, it may directly or indirectly impact your inner peace. To harmoniously resolve any conflict, it’s important to consider the approach that is being used for resolution. Whether you are competitive or collaborative, it can have a significant impact on the outcomes of the conflict situation in relationships.

While I have briefly explained these two conflict resolution styles in separate blog posts, today, we will go through a high-level comparison of these two styles and explore why collaboration is better than the competition for resolving relationship conflicts. The effectiveness of a conflict resolution style depends on situation to situation and the value you hold for relations, but in today’s comparison, our focus is on relationships, and we will explore why a collaborative approach tends to be more effective in this context.

What is the Collaborative style of conflict resolution?

A Collaborating nature is characterized by high assertiveness and high cooperativeness. For a person showing collaborative behavior, concern for others is equally important to him as his concern for self. These individuals believe in working with others to understand their concerns and find a common ground where the pain areas of both parties get addressed. That’s a wise approach to collaborate peacefully, leading to a more harmonious relationship.

Collaboration is one of the most effective conflict management styles through which disputes can be resolved peacefully. It can help build trust and develop a rapport with others to bring about a positive change. Collaboration in simpler terms means working together to achieve a common goal. When collaboration is used in resolving conflicts, it’s essential to assert your views firmly while also giving importance to the concerns of others, so that a mutual understanding can be reached. Typically, this technique should be employed when the outcome of the conflict is important for both parties and should not hamper the relationships involved.

Individuals using this style assert their concerns strongly in front of others and don’t hold back anything while expressing their opinions and thoughts but at the same time, they are open to listening to other’s thoughts and concerns so that both can understand each other’s pain areas and address them without anyone compromising on their needs. It’s like creating a win-win situation for both. The resolution is planned so that neither party will need to compromise on their preferences.

Collaboration is a teamwork approach where you work with others as a member of the same team, ensuring that the interpersonal dynamics remain positive, and their concerns are addressed. You may not completely agree with some of their arguments, but because they are being collaborative, you, in turn, agree to their terms, fostering a mutual agreement.

The critical difference between collaboration and the compromising style of conflict resolution is that, unlike compromise, you remain firm on your points in collaboration. You agree to collaborate with the others only when they agree on your terms thus aiming for a mutually beneficial outcome.

What is the Competitive style of conflict resolution?

People adopting the competing style have little value for the concerns of others. They usually prioritize their individual concerns above anyone else and are unwilling to cooperate with others until their own interests are at stake. In cases where both parties are competitive, resolving conflicts can become quite challenging because neither party is willing to listen to the other, let alone cooperate and arguments between such individuals can easily escalate and become quite serious.

As per Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Resolution Theory, the Competing conflict resolution style is characterized by High Assertiveness and Low Cooperativeness behavioral traits. People being competitive can strongly express their thoughts and opinions in front of others without any hesitation and stay firm on their views to the extent that they don’t negotiate on them. Concerns for others hold no value for them, and they can even use authority to get their point across. Often Competing style is used in the wrong circumstances which results in decisions only to regret them later on.

Using this approach appropriately matters the most, if it’s a matter concerning your self-esteem, then using it can be advantageous, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the situation will turn in your favor every time. Resolving household issues using this resolution style may not be beneficial at all because it may result in a short-term resolution that may seem to align with your preferences, but in the long term, the problem may resurface in a more significant way.

It’s important to understand that using competing styles can lead to rifts in relationships, and these rifts might not heal even after many efforts. To maintain relationships, compromise is required, even if you believe you’re entirely right. Whereas in circumstances where damaged relations don’t hold any value, you can use this style to get others to agree on your terms, and I suggest using it when there is a clear right and wrong.

Comparison between Collaboration and Competitive conflict resolution style?

Below is a high-level comparison between Collaboration and Competition conflict resolution styles:


Collaboration Competition





High Low

Concern for Others



Resolution Time High


Resolution Outcome



Long-Term Solution

Considers all concerns

Favors one party’s needs

Compromise Possible


Why Collaboration is Better than Competition in Relationships?


Using the competing conflict resolution style may not be the ideal approach to resolve a conflict as the resolution is only one-sided and biased, potentially not leading to a permanent fix to the problem which may result in the dispute resurfacing again in the future. However, being collaborative can be a much better approach than being competitive in relationships because:

  • Win-Win Outcomes: The collaborative approach encourages a win-win situation, which is crucial for a relationship. Collaboration addresses the root cause of problems, strengthening the bonds of the relationship. In contrast, the competitive approach often fails to provide a solution to the problem, and even if it does, it tends to be one-sided, increasing the likelihood of weakening the relationship bonds.
  • Value Relationships: Moreover, because the collaborative approach is more focused on resolving the root cause to derive a long-term mutually beneficial solution, it becomes evident that the person using this approach values relationships. They are putting in effort to improve the relationship, addressing everyone’s concerns. On the other hand, when people use the competing approach, they tend to prioritize their concerns over relationships, even if it means potentially damaging those relationships.
  • Cooperation: When we talk about the competitive style, there is often very little room for cooperation, which is a significant factor in maintaining relationships. On the other hand, in the Collaborative style, cooperation plays a substantial role, where you are willing to work with your partner to improve things. High cooperation is essential for effective teamwork, which strengthens the team’s bonds, and this teamwork is equally applicable in relationships.
  • Brainstorming Solutions: Collaboration promotes brainstorming, which is based on the fundamental idea that you sit together to brainstorm ideas, and the best idea that emerges is mutually agreed upon and followed. This is an excellent way to handle situations, and it demonstrates your problem-solving skills, where the focus is on finding solutions rather than discussing the problem itself. In contrast, the competing style leaves no room for brainstorming because it prioritizes individual problems over solutions.
  • Root Cause is Addressed: The best way to bring about improvements in relationships is to address the root causes of problems, which can be done through a collaborative approach. If you don’t understand and work to remedy the root cause of conflicts, it can lead to significant challenges in good relationships as well. In the competitive style, you tend to view these things from a one-sided perspective, focusing on your own point of view.
  • Unbiased Outcomes: Collaboration reduces the chances of biased outcomes because it involves sitting together to brainstorm ways to resolve conflicts, where both parties are encouraged to reach a consensus, and no one has to compromise their emotions or desires. On the other hand, in a competitive approach, outcomes tend to be mostly biased and one-sided.
  • Mutual Respect: Collaboration fosters mutual respect between both partners as they value and recognize the efforts their partner is making to alleviate their problems. This ultimately helps strengthen the bonds of relationships, which cannot be achieved through a competitive approach. Being competitive may lead to a loss of trust and the respect that has been earned, harming your rapport with the other person.
  • Long-Term Resolution: Understanding the other party’s concerns, identifying the root cause, and working together to find a mutually agreeable solution that is equally beneficial for both parties is essential for the long-term resolution of any conflict. You can achieve this only when you work collaboratively with your partner. Being competitive makes it difficult to do all of these, and the outcomes that result from a competitive approach may not be long-term beneficial.
  • Fosters Positivity: Collaboration fosters positivity in relationships because it makes people feel valued and appreciated. It also allows individuals to share their views and learn from each other, ultimately leading to better outcomes.
  • Mature Approach: Lastly, collaboration is considered a more mature approach compared to competition, as it demonstrates the sign of maturity by giving importance to the concerns of others and working together to achieve peace and harmony. This is an important step toward achieving synched harmony. The more mature you become, the better you realize that being highly competitive may reap short-term benefits, but it may not be beneficial in the long term.


To Conclude, the Collaborative approach requires a high concern for others’ needs without compromising on the needs and wants of self. In contrast, the competitive approach is highly focused on the concern and pain areas of self and the concern for others holds little or no value.

When we talk about relationships, strong bonds are crucial for a long-lasting connection. This can only be achieved when you value your partner’s concerns as much as your own. In a relationship, it means sitting down together, discussing issues, finding peaceful ways to resolve them, and adopting the approach that works best for both parties. A relationship is all about collaboratively working through problems for mutual benefit. While you may win an argument by being competitive in your opinion and views, you’ll end up losing all in the relationship in the long term.

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