Cinnie Noble's Blog (171)

Being Careless or Care Less in Conflict

We know that conflict has the potential for bringing out negativity in us when we are in dispute with another person. What form and shape that takes varies, of course, and depends in large part on our individual ways of coping, the circumstances, who the other person is, and the history with her or him. Negativity that erupts in any case seems to increase as we become more and more entrenched and the certainty about our rightness and the other person’s wrongness prevails. We may…


Added by Cinnie Noble on March 20, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

I Didn't Mean it That Way

It seems statements that go like, “I didn’t mean it that way” are ones we use when something we said or how we said it is misinterpreted by another person and offends her or him. Or, it may be a gesture that is misread. In either case, as a consequence of the other person’s reaction to us and the realization that our words or actions are perceived in a way that is not intended, we attempt to defend ourselves and explain what we meant. This is when we may utter phrases like, “I didn’t mean it…


Added by Cinnie Noble on March 13, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

Seeing Red

The colour red is a symbol for many different things, such as blood, a signal to stop, heat, and a warning. In the conflict context we sometimes use the expression seeing red to describe our reaction to something another person did or said that offends us. This phrase reportedly “derives from the sport of bull-fighting and the toreador’s use of a red cape to deceive the bull”. The explanation goes though…


Added by Cinnie Noble on March 6, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

Judging Others

When a judge in a court makes a decision on legal issues in dispute she or he considers many things depending on the situation. It may be the relevant case law, statutes, written and oral evidence provided, witness statements, and other information. Decisions judges make are not always straightforward, and sometimes we may be shocked at their determinations on cases.

When we, who are not judges, make judgments about other people, we do so with far less data. That is, we often do so as…


Added by Cinnie Noble on February 27, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

Stonewalling in Conflict

Similar in some ways to the idiom ‘beating around the bush’ described in a previous ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog, the expression stonewalling refers to the tendency to avoid responding to a question or to be evasive. For me though, stonewalling seems to conjure up a stronger image of obstruction and uncooperativeness.

There are different…


Added by Cinnie Noble on February 20, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

Getting Bent Out of Shape

I have often heard this idiom – getting bent out of shape – when people talk about their reactions or the other person’s when in conflict. Several sources say this expression means to take offense, to become angry, agitated, or upset. For me though, the expression has more of a physical element. That is, it conjures up some interesting images – like an acrobat or pretzel.

In my work as a…


Added by Cinnie Noble on February 13, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

Are You Beating Around the Bush?

When we are in conflict, some of us avoid coming to the point about something we think may upset the other person. The idiom beat around (or about) the bush describes the sort of prevarication when we delay or are evasive about raising difficult things. Or, it may be we act this way when we are having challenges answering a hard question.

The expression – beating around the bush - has an…


Added by Cinnie Noble on February 6, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

That Made My Blood Boil

Did you know that there was a belief that blood actually boils when people become angry or excited? We know that is not true and even has a sort of sci-fi feeling to it. However, that made my blood boil is an expression used by some of us when commenting on something that highly offends us. Wiktionary describes…


Added by Cinnie Noble on January 30, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

"Woulda Coulda Shoulda"

The following description of the words “woulda coulda shoulda” sometimes applies to the experience of being in conflict: “For many people, there is a clear distinction between what actually happened and what they wished would have happened in a given situation. Sometimes, people realize a number of options they could have or should have taken instead of the action they actually took. This…


Added by Cinnie Noble on January 23, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

Conflict Mastery Action Planning

When a conflict is over and we are experiencing ongoing thoughts about what we wished we had said or done, it is a good time to figure out what we learned that will help us going forward. Making an action plan is one way of precluding continual wishing to do things differently - after our conflicts are over. Rather, we become intentional about what we want to work on in order to be proactive and prevent unnecessary conflict, and to not agonize in the aftermath of our interpersonal…


Added by Cinnie Noble on January 16, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

Collaborating in Conflict

When it comes to problem-solving during a conflict we seem to use different styles depending on a number of variables. These may include who the conflict is with, the nature of the issues, and whether the relationship or outcome are more important to us. Other factors may be the degree of acrimony and the intensity of the interaction. Depending on these and other variables, we may respond by avoiding, accommodating the other person’s needs, compromising, fighting to win, cooperating, or…


Added by Cinnie Noble on January 9, 2014 at 7:00am — No Comments

Experiencing Your Conflict

In previous ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blogs I have discussed somatic symptoms of conflict. Today’s post is about what we experience internally that we may or may not show externally. That is, there are ways we are aware of - that others do not necessarily observe - about things going on for us in our body, heart, and brain. Some signs, of course, are evident and will be considered in this discussion.

Experiencing our conflict – the subject of this week’s blog - relates also to what…


Added by Cinnie Noble on December 19, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments

Bouncing Back

In the aftermath of interpersonal conflicts some of us bounce back quicker than others. There are lots of reasons for this. For instance, as discussed in previous blogs, we may have unresolved issues and emotions that continue to haunt us. Other variables that influence our resilience are how we manage stress, how we process our feelings, our general pessimistic versus optimistic approaches to life, the degree of lingering hurt and other emotions due to the dispute, and so on. Some other…


Added by Cinnie Noble on December 12, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments

Positions vs. Interests

In the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediators, among other things, help people in dispute come to a mutually acceptable resolution about issues they do not agree on. Each party typically holds a disparate perspective from the other on what constitutes an appropriate settlement. By the time they get to talk it out in the mediation process to see if they can resolve matters, they have often become entrenched in their positions and the relationship is suffering.



Added by Cinnie Noble on December 5, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments

Digging in our Heels

The meaning of “digging in our heels” according to one source is stubbornly resisting something or refusing to change, i.e. an opinion. The same source states that the origin is “probably related to the fact that if a person or an animal resists being pulled forward, the body will lean backwards and the heels will dig into the ground as the legs resist the forward motion.”

When we hold…


Added by Cinnie Noble on November 28, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments

"I Didn't Mean to Ruffle Your Feathers"

By now you will know I like metaphors and idioms as ways of providing a creative context to consider conflicts and their impact. There is something fun and interesting about doing so. What else I find is that looking at conflict with a different lens also helps my coaching clients (and me when I am in conflict) to gain distance from the emotions and the event.

The topic today – about the metaphor to ruffle someone’s feathers - conjures up an image I smile about. I find I can easily…


Added by Cinnie Noble on November 21, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments

Getting Off on the Wrong Foot

Getting off on the wrong foot refers to those situations that sometimes happen during first encounters with others. This may be at the beginning of a relationship, project, discussion, or any other interaction, when we find ourselves off to an unproductive or uncomfortable start. Something may have happened in our interactions to create these experiences or we pick up something that is off-putting. Someone else may have gossiped to us about the person and their negative views stuck with us.…


Added by Cinnie Noble on November 14, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments

Letting Go

For many of us when a conflict is ostensibly over there are residual feelings and emotions. I have referred to these in previous blogs as the remnants from past conflicts that shroud future conflicts when our feelings and/or the issues in dispute have not been resolved. This post further explores the act of ‘letting go’ of the remnants of conflict.

All sorts of circumstances affect whether and how and how fast we move past our conflicts. Certain people, certain sorts of disputes,…


Added by Cinnie Noble on November 7, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments

"Settle Down"

It often seems that phrases like, “settle down”, “just calm yourself”, “you don’t need to get upset”, etc. lead to increased defensiveness and other negative reactions, rather than less, as the speaker likely hoped. Hushing hand gestures result in the same sort of negative response. That is, comments or gestures of this nature are usually experienced as dismissive and undermining. Those on the receiving end generally resent that their views and feelings are being quieted, put down, or…


Added by Cinnie Noble on October 31, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments

Post-Conflict Guilt

After a conflict, some of us experience a sense of guilt. We may realize we contributed to the discord by saying or doing something that we know offended the other person. We may have been insulting. We may have not told the truth. We may have retaliated, gossiped, or acted in our self-interest – to the other person’s detriment. These and other actions may haunt us after the conflict and lead to continuing self-blame.

According to …


Added by Cinnie Noble on October 24, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments

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