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Why Bother Criticizing?

When we are in conflict it is common to criticize the other person – blaming her or him for things said or done (or not said or done). In our blaming we might name-call, put them down, ignore them, be patronizing and so on. Our facial and body language might also signal our critical view of the other person.

Why bother? This is the main question for this week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog. When you criticize why do you do so? Is it to take control of the dynamic? Is it to hurt back and retaliate? Is it to “win” a dispute? Is it because it’s a “knee-jerk” reaction to defend yourself? Is it because nothing else comes to mind? Is it because you are too upset to control your reactions? Is it to undermine the other person – to wear her or him down? Or, what else might it be?

Consider a dispute in which you chose to criticize the other person and in addition to answering why you think you did so, consider these questions too:

  • Of what were you being critical?
  • What bothered you most about what the other person said or did?
  • What did you say back to her or him that was critical?
  • How did that go over (your answer to the above question)?
  • What was the impact on you of her or his words or actions?
  • What else happened between you as a result of criticizing?
  • What were you hoping to accomplish by criticizing?
  • If you made a request stating what you needed or wanted (implicit in the criticism), what would that sound like?
  • What difference might that have made to the conflict dynamic?
  • How might that difference be a benefit to you? How might it not be?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

This entry was posted in Blame, Conflict Coaching, Conflict Management Coaching, Criticizing. Bookmark the permalink.

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