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Wrong Side of the Bed

Management Blog
by Cinnie Noble

Sometimes I wake up in a cranky mood. I expect that happens to you, too, right? It may be due to a restless sleep, worry, an unresolved problem, a confrontation that hovers, and other reasons that seem to result in a negative start to the day.

The derivation of this phrase is interesting. “Wrong side of the bed” apparently comes from a time when “the left side of the bed or anything ‘left’ was considered sinister, mysterious, dangerous or evil. So, innkeepers pushed the left sides of the bed against the walls so that a guest HAD to get up on the right side”. However, today the phrase refers, among other things, to starting the day being irritable and not able to focus or engage effectively.

In my world as a conflict management coach, it is common that clients who say they “get up on the wrong side” (or a similar reference to starting their day poorly) are less resilient and their health and well-being is suffering. At these times, their mindset is negative, and they seem to have a tendency to cause conflict through defensiveness and an imbalance in their ways of interacting. Or, they report reacting to even the slightest provocation. In any case, their reserves are low, and this often has an impact on their interactions.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to consider the experience of waking up on “the wrong side” and the impact on an interpersonal dispute.

  • What conflict happened between you and the other person when you consider you got up on the wrong side that day (and it had an impact on the interaction)?
  • What contributed to you getting up on the wrong side of the bed?
  • What specific impact did that (your above answer) have on your conflictual interaction with the other person?
  • What impact did it have on the other person?
  • What words describe your mindset that day?
  • If you got up on the “right side of the bed”, what do you suppose you would have done differently?
  • What would the impact be of getting up on the right side on the interaction with the other person?
  • What would the impact be on the outcome of the dispute?
  • What might help you manage the experience of getting out of bed on the wrong side so as to prevent unnecessary conflict?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

Cinnie Noble

Cinnie Noble is a certified coach (PCC) and mediator and a former lawyer specializing in conflict management coaching. She is the author of two coaching books: Conflict Management Coaching: The CINERGY™ Model and Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You. MORE >

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