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“Calling Out”

The expression “calling out”, when it comes to interpersonal conflict dynamics, refers to identifying someone’s bad behavior and by doing so letting her or him know our feelings about it. The words called out and why are the subject of today’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog.

If you have called someone out about something, the essential consideration will be about identifying what led you to this place. It’s often the case that our motivation comes from a deeply held value or need that the other person has threatened or challenged by her or his words, actions and attitude. Similarly, it might be that the person’s behaviour insulted and offended us, or another person we care about, or an opinion or subject about a matter very dear to us. Whatever the case, we cannot or do not want to refrain from letting the person know it’s simply not okay to say or do what they did.

If, on the other hand, you have been “called out” the shame, embarrassment and loss of face can be extremely difficult. The relationship with the other person is threatened (as it would be in the previous scenario); our sense of self and identity are undermined; and our emotional reactions have an impact on our resilience.

Consider these questions with respect to the above:

  • Consider one scenario when you called someone out. What was the context? And what did you say to the other person that may be referred to as calling her or him out?
  • What motivated you to say that? What were you feeling at the time about her or him?
  • How did the other person react?
  • What did calling out achieve?
  • What was the main message you were wanting to convey? What is most important to you about that message?
  • If you were to frame that message as a request instead, what would that request be?
  • If you have been “called out” by someone, consider one scenario when that occurred. What did the other person say? What impact did that have on you?
  • What was the main message she or he was conveying, as you heard it? What might have made that important to the other person?
  • If the person framed that message as a request, what might the request have been?
  • What purpose does calling out serve as the person calling out? What purpose does it serve as the person on the receiving end?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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