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Read: Difference Between Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Conflict

Difference Between Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Conflict
Intrapersonal conflict occurs within ourselves, while interpersonal conflict occurs between two people. SocialMettle outlines the difference between the two terms and also suggests the likely solutions to these issues.
Buzzle Staff
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
"When you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor, which can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude." ― William James

To begin with, a conflict is a situation of disagreement. When we use the term 'conflicting emotions' or 'conflicting ideas', what we mean to say is that there are two or more emotions/ideas that are in conflict/disagreement with each other. Though the word has its origins in fiction, it is used in instances that occur on a daily basis as well.
Generally, there are four types of conflict: intrapersonal, interpersonal, intragroup, and intergroup conflict. The intrapersonal conflict vs. interpersonal conflict write-up below will help you distinguish between the two. But before that, let us take a closer look at these two types.
Intrapersonal Conflict
  • By definition, this conflict occurs within our own mind.
  • To elaborate, no other party is involved in the decision-making process.
  • A simple example of an intrapersonal conflict would be, a woman unable to make up her mind whether she should go to the office party or stay at home and relax. Or, a student in conflict with herself, when she is unable to decide if she wants to go to the club or finish her assignment.

Interpersonal Conflict
  • In the simplest terms, it is a conflict between two individuals.
  • The conflict may be due to any reason or subject, but the fact is, the two individuals involved have opposing views about the same thing.
  • Consider a simple subject like the health benefits of a vegan diet. One individual may argue that vegan is the way to go, while the other may opine that a non-vegan diet is better for the body.
  • Both views contrast with each other, thus, this is an example of interpersonal conflict.

Intrapersonal Vs. Interpersonal

Aspects Involved

◼ Self-awareness, expectation, and perception are the three main aspects of intrapersonal communication. These aspects involve using one's beliefs, thoughts, emotions, values, and attitudes.
◼ Oral and written communication as well as internal negotiation form the basic aspects of interpersonal communication. They involve thinking, analysis, clarification of ideas, speaking, writing, etc.


◼ There are three main types of intrapersonal conflict:

  • Approach-approach
  • Approach-avoidance
  • Avoidance-avoidance
◼ Interpersonal conflicts contain several types and sub-types, noteworthy among them being:
  • Direct
  • Mediated
  • Mass

Third-party intervention

◼ An intrapersonal conflict can lead you to rethink and overwork your mind, get into definite confusion, and even lead to depression. A third-party intervention in this case would be your family and friends, with whom you can talk and discuss and resolve your fears and conflicts. It is one of best intrapersonal resolution strategies.
◼ An interpersonal conflict mostly takes place among friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, etc. It teaches you the principles of adjustment and compromise. A third-party intervention is essential if the conflict gets too heated up.


◼ Having a conflict with oneself can range from trivial matters, like deciding what to wear, to something more serious like choosing your life partner. All said and done, if your conflict is resolved soon, well and good, if not, you need to seek help from others.
◼ Most debates between people can be considered as examples of interpersonal conflicts. Each individual has his/her own perspective and some conflicts can remain unresolved for long. Especially in the workplace, an unresolved interpersonal conflict can cause problems and an unstable working environment.

Conflicts are common in our daily life, and as long as they are easily resolved, it is fine (for the mind and body). If not, you can endanger your inner beliefs, your behavior, your attitude, etc. A common element of interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict is the intervention of another party. This is essential in both cases to understand the reason behind the conflict, the importance of having a solution, and the most important of all, to look at the issue from a different perspective.
conflict between two people
conflict occurs within our own mind