If you're like me, conflict freaks you out. Even the slightest of disagreements can have me shaking in my boots. I will never be a woman who can fight eye for an eye in an argument with their husband or partner, but I know many women that do. I was raised by my mother, an avid avoider of conflict and my grandmother who I believe coined the phrase "Don't sweat the small stuff". So I am a not one to rally when fighting arises. John Gottman, Ph.D is a celebrated marriage therapist and researcher. According to him, there are three main conflict styles people exhibit when they experience fighting in their relationships. 1) The Avoidance Style 2) The Validation Style 3) The Volatile Style. Avoiders are resistance of conflict (moi). The opposite are volatiles who are super emotionally expressive and outward with their issues. In between is the happy medium of validators, who attempt to find common ground while feeling comfortable expressing themselves. Often times, no matter what sort of conflict style you possess, it can be a dangerous mix with your partner. Two volatiles can be impossible without mediation, and two avoiders can never tell each other their true emotions leaving important words unsaid. Whether you are a peacekeeper, a mediator or an expresser, there is a valuable relationship trick to handling any small conflict effectively. It is known as the "ouch and oops" method. Whenever your partner does something that makes you upset, say "ouch". He will simply reply "oops". Easier said then done, right? It's actually an effective practice. Of course, "ouch" and "oops" allows for open dialogue. When you say "ouch", explain to him why what has happened has hurt you. Keep a calm dialogue, but don't be shy to explain yourself. When he says "oops", he can also add an apology and his perspective on the situation. Again, remaining calm but open. It can be a basis for learning better conflict skills, and helps reduce fighting in public or in front of children. Let us know what your style of conflict is! And how about your partner? Share your secrets to successful conflict resolution with us!