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Nip it in the bud

The phrase “nip it in the bud” is apparently derived from the de-budding of plants. The earlier form of the phrase was “nip in the bloome [sic]” and was cited in a romantic piece by Henry Chettle in 1595. It seems a sad origin, thinking of a flowering romance being nipped and prevented from blossoming. On the other hand, nipping of flower buds can facilitate repeat growth.

If we apply this notion of nipping it in the bud to conflict and consider firstly that it is a good thing to let conflict bloom, it raises the possibility that, if allowed to surface, important feelings and thoughts may be expressed that would help the relationship and situation rather than hinder it. If presented and received in the spirit of acknowledging and not undermining our differences, we would say and hear things that are meaningful to us both. Ultimately, this has the potential for strengthening bonds that are based on mutual understanding.

It also is helpful to consider under what circumstances nipping things in the bud is a positive move because it precludes destructive results. For instance, it could be that there is nothing to be gained when the damage done in the conflict is irreparable or further discord and hurt may result from prolonging the tension. For these and other reasons it may not make sense to chance the evolution or perhaps, it is the evilution of conflict. At the same time, it is important to consider if facing some negative results is necessary and may in the end, yield a positive outcome.

This week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog invites you, when answering the following questions, to consider an interaction that you are not sure whether to nip in the bud:

  • What is the situation and which way are you leaning – to nip it or not nip it in the bud?
  • What are the reasons for the above answer?
  • What would nipping it in the bud achieve for you?
  • What would nipping it in the bud achieve for the other person?
  • What sort of action would nip it in the bud?
  • What are the risks of taking that action?
  • If you nip the conflict in the bud, what would remain as an unknown for you?
  • How important is it for knowing that on a scale of 1-5, 5 being very important?
  • What may go unknown for the other person about you or the situation if you nip the conflict in the bud?
  • How important may that be to him or her on a scale of 1-5, 5 being very important?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

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7 Responses to Nip it in the bud

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