Even though we know that name-calling sounds infantile, sometimes in the heat of anger, we realize we have resorted to blaming with words that hurt, or the other person is verbally attacking us. Unfortunately, the sentiments experienced in these words often echo long after the disagreement is over and may even get dragged into subsequent conversations.


Name-calling is an impulsive habit for responding to something another person says or does that offends us. From the point of view of conflict mastery, it is worth exploring the feeling and words behind name-calling and the moments that incite them. Won’t you consider the following questions in this regard?

  • If you name-call at times, what name(s) did you use in the last conflict when you did so?
  • Why did you choose those particular names or that name?
  • What was the message you wanted to convey that led you to use the name(s) you did?
  • What did you need, expect or hope for from that person that he or she wasn’t delivering (if you didn’t refer to one or more of these above)?
  • What do you suppose motivated you to name-call at that time, rather than responding differently?
  • What emotions were you experiencing?
  • What was the observable impact on the other person when you called the name(s) you referred to?
  • How did name-calling work for you? How did it work against you?
  • If other people have called you names, how have you responded?
  • Consider one of those situations (if someone called you names). What could he or she have said or done in that situation, that would have worked better for you?


Any other comments about this topic and/or what other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may work here to raise awareness about name-calling?

Originally posted on: www.cinergycoaching.com/blog/

Views: 76

Comment by Jeff Thompson on December 18, 2011 at 9:54am


Name-calling, as juvenile as it can be, offers a glimpse into people's current emotional state and their attitude.  Fitting within the lens of metaphors, I think as professionals it is important for us to realize when they are used (yes, often it can be obvious!) and respond accordingly.

I like your open-ended questions to be used as ways of delving deeper and beyond just the surface level.

Good stuff!

Comment by Cinnie Noble on December 18, 2011 at 11:49am

Thanks for your comments Jeff. I agree - listening to and asking about the meaning behind the names being called opens up the coaching conversation, and gets to the emotional underpinnings and other dimensions of the conflict experience.


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