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Provoking Others

We aren’t usually aware of what peoples’ ‘hot buttons’ are except perhaps those of our family and friends and those we come to know well such as colleagues and co-workers. Even so, we didn’t always know what provoked them. New friends, colleagues and others start with a clean slate, too. It seems ‘hot buttons’ are things we often realize the hard way – through trial and error.

When we are provoked by something others say or do or even what they don’t say or do, many of us let the person know directly. Others do so indirectly, showing signs of being disgruntled, without really saying what is happening. Similarly, when we provoke others, they let us know in their individual ways. In either case, lots of times the signs are so indirect, we and others miss them altogether.

When we care to improve a relationship that is disrupted by a conflict, to engage in productive conflict conversations, or to show up in ways that welcome and invite dialogue of differences, it helps to consider what we do that irritates others. Here are some questions that serve to heighten awareness about this ConflictMastery™ topic:

  • What are your ‘hot buttons’ – the actions or words that provoke you?
  • In what ways have you irritated another person in the same ways?
  • Considering a dispute you were in recently, what specific ‘hot button’ did the other person push for you?
  • What way did you come across (demeanour, attitude, tone of voice), that seemed to irritate the other person?
  • In that same dispute, what are you aware of that you said or how you said it that seemed to provoke the other person? Or, what did you do or not do that seemed to provoke him or her?
  • What do you think motivates you to repeat things that you know provokes others? What do you gain from doing so? What do you lose?
  • What do you observe happens to others when you provoke them? What do you think they are feeling at these times?
  • What happens to you when you become aware you irritate others?
  • If you decide to make some changes in an effort to not push others’ hot buttons, how do you prefer to be and be perceived?
  • How will you begin to make one of those changes?

Please add any comments or ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) you suggest on this topic about provoking others.

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