As a rule, if the conflict is triggered by your emotional state (I’m crabby) or an emotional reaction (you’re pissing me off), it’s unneeded. If there is an ongoing problem or pattern that is upsetting, there are many much more productive ways to find a solution than letting your emotions lead you into conflict.
Also, if you are walking into a conflict knowing what’s going to be said and with no realistic hope of resolution, do what you can to skip it. Maybe the time isn’t right or the best solution hasn’t presented itself you. Or maybe its one of those things which will always be a sore spot that you just have to deal with. But conflict with no hope of resolution is generally pointless. Just avoid it.
How to avoid it? Smiling and nodding is a good go-to method. (“That’s an interesting approach. I hadn’t thought of it that way before.“) As is just admitting your own struggle: (“I’m really irritable right now.” or “This is always a sore spot for me and I’m not up for getting into it.”) Asking to revisit the issue later can also be helpful. (“I’m sorry, but I’m just not up for getting into this right now. Can I come and find you so we can discuss it when I’m feeling better?”)
Sometimes peace isn’t the destination you’re headed towards. When that’s the case, simply keeping what peace you can salvage is the healthy, feel-good way to go!.