When I give public talks on conflict and mediation, I often begin with some tips about avoiding conflicts in the first place. As you might imagine, the tips include ideas about effective communication and understanding the perspectives of other people. I also discuss the idea that conflicts are a part of life — they can’t all be prevented, nor should they be.
On the other hand, conflict avoidance is not just a part of life. It’s tempting: most of us do not enjoy confrontation (before, during, or after); lots of us feel that we are not very good at resolving conflicts; frequently we are very aware of the costs associated with dealing with the conflict.
Still, sticking your head in the sand is rarely a good idea. Sometimes the best approach is negotiation, sometimes mediation, sometimes another dispute resolution process. A deliberate and careful consideration of your options is always a good idea.