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Factors Why People Fight

Updated on September 30, 2016
"We need to know our limitations and boundaries.  It is not right that only one side should adjust in a relationship.  It should be BOTH sides in order to have a healthy relationship."  (Photo courtesy of Jan Yusay)
"We need to know our limitations and boundaries. It is not right that only one side should adjust in a relationship. It should be BOTH sides in order to have a healthy relationship." (Photo courtesy of Jan Yusay)

Why do we fight?

If you happen to check my other hubs, we have already discussed three topics: Understanding Relationship Communication, Signs of a Failing Relationship and What Causes a Relationship to Fail. These articles are all interrelated with each other as well as the factors why people fight.

There are a lot of things that people fight about. As a Human Resource practitioner, I have experienced handling different office and personal conflicts. Oh well, conflicts that sometimes started from a petty and simple conversation. While some were giving opinions that eventually ended up into an argument. I want to share with you my own observation and analysis on the three main factors why people fight . . . COMPATIBILITY, DISHONESTY and PRIDE.


- The term compatibility comes from the root word “compatible”
which means two or more things or individuals are well matched or go well together. I have also looked up from the website of (, which defines, “Interpersonal compatibility is a concept that describes long-term interaction between two or more individuals in terms of the care and comfort of the communication.”

If a relationship has a question of compatibility, then it leads to miscommunication and misunderstanding. A couple or group of friends who comes from different cultures and does not exert extra effort to try understand each other has the possibility to end up in a fight. Remember our article on “What Causes a Relationship to Fail”? We have discussed that we all come from different family background and culture. If we jump into a relationship without knowing the whereabouts of our partner, then we have an issue of compatibility. We end up in a fight if we are not attuned with each other in terms of our principles, values, interest, politics, sex, and in almost everything.

As Stephen R. Covey says in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “When expectations are not clear and shared, people begin to become emotionally involved and simple misunderstandings become compounded, turning into personality clashes and communication breakdowns. Clarifying expectations sometimes takes a great deal of courage.” In order for us to know that we are compatible, we need to ask, probe and clarify our expectations. Never just assume something unless we want to end up in a fight. We need to know our limitations and boundaries. It is not right that only one side should adjust in a relationship. It should be BOTH sides in order to have a healthy relationship.


- If you happen to watch the “Maury Show” at KTLA network, they featured different real life conflicts in a relationship. Some of their topics were “Is my fiancée having an affair with my bestfriend?”; “Is he the father of my child?”; “Is my sister going out with my husband?”; or “Is my mother sleeping with my husband?” So, why do they fight? It is because we kept a certain secret in our life that affects our partners, families and friends. We lied and cheated that it hurts even somebody close to us. I find the show a little bit weird but still finding out the TRUTH can make or break a relationship.

Dishonesty is another factor why people fight. In Webster’s New Thesaurus dictionary, it defines dishonesty as “implies a willful perversion of truth in order to deceit, cheat or defraud .” There is intent to lie or hide information that affects our others. There is no such thing as “white lies”. A lie will always be a lie, which is we are not telling the truth.

Nobody wants our families, friends or colleagues to cheat or lie to us. We tend to lose our trust. We now perceive the other person as unworthy of our trust. We start to doubt and question everything that he or she will tell us. When we start to doubt, the other person may tend to become defensive. Remember our topic on “Ego and Defensiveness”? (You may check our article on What Causes our Relationship to Fail?) Our dishonesty can lead to a lost of trust that contributes to our fight, which might end our relationship. To trust someone is when you extend your confidence and reliance. Suppose your partner cheated on you for another girl but you decided to give him another chance. Do you still have the same level of trust compared before? Or do you now have hesitations to believe him/ her? DEFINITELY NOT! You are stupid if you immediately give him your full trust. That person needs to work harder to gain back somebody’s trust.


- The term pride has a negative and positive meaning. On the negative side, it means arrogance, conceit and overconfident such as “I already know that and you don’t need to explain it to me.” However, it may also mean self-respect, dignity and honor such as “My son just graduated from Medicine and he is the pride of our family.”

In the book Egonomics by David Marcum and Steven Smith, they wrote that “The more something means to us or the closer it is to our identity, the greater the chances we turn away from people, or against our ideas.” I want to relate their statement to our third factor why people fight, PRIDE. It is more on the negative side that leads to people’s fight. If we too proud of ourselves, it may consist of three reasons . . . fear, insecurities and self-centeredness.

FEAR - - -

It is usually based on our past experiences. It comes from our repressed emotions of stress, trauma or tension. It can be shown through our anxiety and worries about almost everything. It is a state of mind that we are conditioned of when we were still at our early age. Suppose you have problems at school when we you were young. What do you tend to reply when your son approaches you about his concern at school? You’re right! We always tell our kids, “I have already experienced that when I was your age.” We even tell them “It already happened to me.” We answered them without even knowing their real problem. We fear that our child cannot graduate. We fear about his future without us, their parents. We fear for them because we have experienced hardships and troubles when we were young. So when the child drops from school or failed in his subject, it now leads to a big family fight. It is because of our Pride that we sometimes fail to realize that our children’s generation might be different from ours.


If a person who is pessimistic about life is usually someone who has a poor outlook about himself. Sometimes we cover up our lack of self-confidence by being too aggressive and arrogant. We boast too much to be recognized by others. Our uncertainty contributes to our self-centeredness that eventually leads to a fight. Being a self-centered person, we tend to become selfish and self-righteous. We tend not to listen to other people’s ideas. Our listening ability becomes inferior. So we tend to fight for what we believe is right. Let us take for example a situation of a houseband and a working wife. The husband stays at home taking care of the children. While the wife works to earn for their living. IF the husband has developed a sense of insecurity because of financial standing, they will end up in a fight every time the wife will ask about their family budget. He becomes defensive to protect his pride as the father of the family. However, if the husband and wife have a mutual understanding about their responsibilities at home then they can discuss things without arguing with each other. Being a houseband is just the same as being a housewife. It is because of our pride that we sometimes fail to overcome our insecurities and self-centeredness that leads to our fight.

Interpersonal compatibility is a concept that describes long-term interaction between two or more individuals in terms of the care and comfort of the communication. . . .     (Photo courtesy of Christine Guevarra)
Interpersonal compatibility is a concept that describes long-term interaction between two or more individuals in terms of the care and comfort of the communication. . . . (Photo courtesy of Christine Guevarra)

What do people fight about during their relationship?

Here are some things that we usually fight for in our relationship.

  1. Financial Standing versus Social Status – This involves money, budgeting, what to spend and how to spend it. A question in our finances versus our pride on what will my friends will say if they’ll find out about this. So, we fight. . .
  2. Family versus Career/ Work - This involves our prioritization in our life. Who is right and who is wrong? Who has the most accomplishment in our career? Who comes first? Our family or work? So, we fight . . .
  3. Chores versus Personal Interest – This involves the division of our different chores. Who will do this and who will do that? Who is going to do the laundry or who is going to cook? Who is going to watch the baby if you are going out with your friends? Who is who? So, we fight . . .
  4. Spouses versus In-laws – This involves the balancing in our life. Knowing our limitations and boundaries. The wife says to do this but the mother-in-laws say to do that. The husband wants to do it but the father-in-law says not. Spouses want to have time for themselves but sister-in-laws want to join. So then, which way should we follow? So, we fight . . .
  5. Sex versus Rest/ Sleep – This involves our consideration about each other. One wants to have sex but the other is tired from work and wants to sleep. As the saying goes, “There is always time for everything. A time to play and a time to rest.” So then, when is the right time? So, we fight . . .

There are still a lot of things that people fight about during their relationship. Perhaps, we can discuss it in our next article on How to Mend a Broken Relationship.”


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    • TINA V profile imageAUTHOR

      TINA V 

      6 years ago

      Kavi, thank you for checking out this hub. Appreciated

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      it is good article

    • TINA V profile imageAUTHOR

      TINA V 

      6 years ago

      I really appreciate all your additional insights. I hope our readers will learn from it. Thank you for checking out this hub.

    • ShalahChayilJOY profile image

      Shalah Chayil 

      6 years ago from Billings, Montana

      Shalom Tina, Scripture is clear about why people fight. Human nature is self_centered. "i" want my way. Until we learn to yield completely to the SPIRIT of Life, knowing He looks out for our true best, we out of fear, are driven to fight for self interest which may or may not actually be in our best interest.

    • profile image

      laila sheikh 

      6 years ago

      It is not good to fight people because there is a lot of prombler that make people bad things so that is not good for you thanks and stop the fight!!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      8 years ago from US

      pride yes, and dishionesty too, Thanks dear for this one, Maita

    • TINA V profile imageAUTHOR

      TINA V 

      9 years ago

      Thank you. I have two previous articles on "Signs of a Failing Relationship" and "What Causes a Relationship to Fail?" I hope you can also check it out.

    • profile image

      Guy from Santa Monica 

      9 years ago

      Very good analysis and perception, but I also believe that there are many factors to be considered, depending on family background, Culture, etc. I agree. You made your point.


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