Many years ago I had a friend who made fun of certain words and expressions we commonly use. For instance, she would ask who are “they” who make up rules about what is acceptable behaviour or wise advice like, “They say don’t swim after you eat”, or “They say if you tell the truth it becomes a part of your past. If you lie it becomes part of your future”. (I am not attributing these expressions as I am not able to find their derivation. They are time-worn statements I have heard as long as I…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on August 7, 2014 at 9:30am — No Comments
You will know from the ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blogs that the series of questions usually invites readers to look at the conflict from the other person’s viewpoint, as well as their own. It is a typical approach for helping people understand the full picture of conflict situations, including their contribution to the dynamic.
The phrase stepping into someone’s shoes – the subject of this week’s blog – is commonly…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on July 31, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
As you may know, the phrase driving a wedge between people describes the act of causing people to oppose or turn against one another – to spoil their relationship.
This expression seems to be used when referring to what a third party does that results in a schism between two (or more) others. That is, the two (or more) people may not be in conflict or there may be some tension but they are not…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on July 24, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
I was unable to find the derivation of the expression flip your lid, but I have heard it used to describe an excessively angry reaction. In recent years I have heard the term apoplectic used when referring to extreme rage and for me, the meaning of these two expressions are similar. The visual of flip your lid however, conjures up an interesting image of the top of the head blowing open – presumably with fury propelling it. Perhaps, the expression symbolizes the emotional…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on July 17, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
Sometimes when we are in conflict with another person we are faced with a dilemma about what we are or are not willing to say or do, or give or take, to reconcile matters. Though at some level of consciousness we want to settle things, there are times when we realize that what it may take to do so would compromise our values and needs. Or, we may have an excessive amount of antipathy towards the other person or sense that coming from them. Or, we may be worn down and despairing, have lost…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on July 10, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
It happens in conflict that things frequently escalate in a way that results in the other person or us making things worse. The expression “jumping from the frying pan into the fire” applies here as an idiom that generally means escaping a bad situation for a worse situation. According to one source, “it was made the subject of a 15th-century fable that eventually entered the Aesopic canon”.…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on July 3, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
The expression “fed up” has several meanings. One source states: “To have had more than enough of something or someone, or to be bored with or tired of the same.” The same source says that the expression dates back to the early 19th century when reportedly “the languid aristocracy were compared to farm animals that were force fed to make them plump for market”.
The phrase later became part of the general…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on June 26, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
This week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog is not about cooking, though the title and the metaphor seems to conjure up the picture of soups and stews simmering on top of a stove. When it comes to conflict the expression – stirring the pot – is defined by one source as “to cause unrest or dissent”. It is an idiomatic way to explore what some of us do when we disagree with a decision, or it may be what we do in…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on June 19, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
I haven’t heard this expression – get your goat – for a while and since writing this blog I have become intrigued with such idioms. This one typically refers to the reaction when someone does something that provokes, infuriates, or annoys us. According to one source the origin is described as follows:
“The dictionary definition of goat is 'a ruminant quadruped of the genus Capra'. What's that got to do…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on June 12, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
When we are in conflict with another person or the dynamics between us seem to be leaning towards one developing, some of us have a tendency to begin to find fault with the other person. We may say to ourselves or others that she or he is “getting on our nerves”. We may attribute negative motives to her or him. We may stay away from this person or show the emotions we are experiencing in various ways. One of the expressions some people use to describe people who are annoying us and to whom…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on June 5, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments
Have you ever heard this idiom – ‘you could cut the air with a knife’? Generally-speaking, it is a term that describes a tense situation between people and, at times, there is a sense of foreboding that something unpleasant is about to happen. When I looked up the derivation I did not find a lot to draw from. However, here is one commentator’s attempt at a physiological explanation:
Added by Cinnie Noble on May 29, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
One of the ways that some people manage conflict is by using the ‘silent treatment’. This expression refers to “Maintenance of aloof silence toward another as an expression of one’s anger or disapproval”. The same source says this phrase is “a deliberate discourteous act”.
There may be a number of reasons for using the silent treatment – and some intentions may be like those for letting the other person…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on May 22, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
There are times in our interpersonal conflicts that – after the fact – we state things like, “I wish I hadn’t said that”. This is along the lines of “If I had it to do over”. It is often a statement made when we acknowledge that something we said triggered off a reaction in the other person that served no purpose except maybe to escalate the dispute. When we are…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on May 15, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
The other day a colleague (I’ll call her Janet) told me she and a co-worker (I’ll call him David) had a heated disagreement about a work matter. Janet went on to say that David called her a few hours after and left a contrite message asking to have a coffee and work things out. She then told me she decided not to reply for a few days to let David “stew in his own juices” for a while. When I asked what she means by that, Janet answered, “I thought I’d just let him feel badly a little longer…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on May 8, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
On a recent post on the Conflict Coaching Guild on LinkedIn I posed the following question:
“Generally-speaking, a common reaction - when we are provoked by something another person says or does (or doesn't say or do) - is to make assumptions about their motive, character, etc.
This tendency often heightens in intensity and malevolence if the perceived offense is repeated and our emotional reaction increases.
However, why do you suppose we do not check…
Added by Cinnie Noble on May 1, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
Have you had the experience when a friend, colleague or family member tries to impose their beliefs, needs, values, or expectations on you regarding a way you handled a situation? I have never been fussy about sentences that start with “You should have...” and then a pronouncement of what the speaker thinks would have been more appropriate. Of course, it may well be that I did not use my strongest conflict mastery skills at these times. Yet, I am not meaning to share what happened so that I…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on April 24, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
I have been thinking about when I hear someone explaining their rationale for saying or doing something that has upset or provoked me or another person. I realize that at times it sounds like an excuse and at other times it sounds like a reason. You may ask what difference does it make?
Providing reasons or excuses in our conflict interactions often seem to arise during the course of a dispute or after it is over. At these times, we - or the other person - may give a reason or excuse…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on April 17, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
I have heard the statement “If I had it to do over …” in many contexts, including about choices of partners, careers, schooling, places to live, and so on. This week’s blog is about how this preamble arises in some interpersonal conflicts - in the aftermath.
There are a number of reasons that, in retrospect, we may speak about a situation in terms of what we ought to have done differently. Such statements may be said with regrets, disappointment in ourselves, and even a sense of…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on April 10, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
The other day a friend – I’ll call her Jane – was telling me about an ongoing dispute she was having with a co-worker. She complained about the way her colleague Ted acts, looks, talks, and just about everything else. Clearly, their interactions had deteriorated over time and their current communications are mostly through others, i.e. “Tell Ted that I need the report by 3:00” and Ted’s response, “Tell her she’ll get it when I’m finished it”.
Through the course of conveying this…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on April 3, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments
In his wonderful poem “Sometimes” (from Everything is Waiting for You, 2007, Many Rivers Press), David Whyte refers to questions that “have no right to go away”. I really like that statement and it touched a chord in me. So, considering my fascination with the art of inquiry I thought about using Whyte’s phrase as the title and premise of this week’s blog.
It seems that when we are in interpersonal conflict we ask ourselves many things about what is going on between the other person…Continue
Added by Cinnie Noble on March 27, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments