Recently, I ran into the word "为难“ which means roughly that someone is in a dilemma／is having difficulty deciding . The sentences that was used as an example was 离开还是留下， 他很为难。 Could some explain the difference between the usage of 为难 and 矛盾？ they seem to have relatively similar meanings in this context.
There's a nuanced difference:
为难means to be troubled over a difficult issue, indicating that the speaker isn't sure what to do and/or cannot make a decision easily. For example,
美称对台渔民遇害案感到为难- "Regarding the (Philippine's) killing of Taiwanese fisherman, the United States (as a friend of both) says it is caught between a rock and a hard place."
矛盾means something is self-contradictory, indicating that the speaker is experiencing opposite desires/emotions/feeling/etc. For example,
愛情令人感到矛盾- "Love makes people feel conflicted (between fairytale-romance and reality)".
My experience is pretty limited, and the only way I've heard 为难 use is in the sense of "embarrassed/awkward/in a quandary". This is being put in a position to make a decision, yes, but can also refer to the embarrassed feeling that might go with it. Am I on the right track?
"為難" emphasizes on difficulty in making decision.
"矛盾" emphasizes on contradiction in thoughts.
You can feel "為難" because of "矛盾", but not the contrary.
"为难" -- dilemma. think of the meaning of 难 (difficult).
-- so you can also replace this word to "很难做"or "很难选择", for example 1.离开还是留下， 他很难选择. 2.你不预先告诉我，我会很难做.
"矛盾" -- Being definitely contradictory between two things (think of 矛 and 盾 as the literal meaning of 矛盾)
為難 means troublesome and 矛盾 means misunderstanding/contradictions.
For example, 你的決定讓他很為難. It means "Your decision has made him troublesome".
Then, 他們之間有矛盾. It means "They have slight misunderstanding/contradictions between them".
為難 could be the result of 矛盾.