art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time

Perceiving Conflict

It sometimes happens that we perceive an interpersonal conflict is occurring when that isn’t really the case. This might be when we pick up an attitude, gesture, statement, body or facial language, or another cue that we interpret as offensive and hurtful. We might think the other person is angry at us and may be reacting to something we said or did. In some cases, we might also feel guilt because we believe we did say or do something that was off-putting. This, of course, works both ways – we perceive conflict when it may or may not exist – or the other person perceives conflict when it may or may not exist.

At times like these, when we or the other person perceive interpersonal tension, we have the opportunity to check it out. Yet, many of us shy away from doing so. We might be afraid we will initiate an argument, or we will create a fuss, or we will find our assumptions and perceptions are right and end up in an interaction we don’t feel prepared for (or we are conflict avoidant).

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider a situation in which you are perceiving the other person is perturbed at you.

  • What is specifically happening that gives you the impression the other person is perturbed at you?
  • What do you assume, but do not know for sure, about the possible reason the other person is perturbed with you?
  • If you are not correct about your assumptions in this regard (above question), what else may be going on for the other person?
  • What might be going on for you that you are perceiving dissension, if it’s not real?
  • If you were to ask the other person about what you are perceiving, how might you frame your question?
  • What answer do you want to be most prepared for?
  • If you are correct about your assumptions, what is important to know or do about that?
  • What would be the biggest pleasant surprise that the other person might say?
  • What do you know or are you learning about the best way forward when you perceive conflict, but do not know it exists for sure?
  • How are these questions changing your perceptions, if at all?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *