Framing is the process of describing and interpreting an event –a term conflict consultants like to use.. According to conflict theorist Jay Rothman, “framing focuses attention.

When a frame is put around a painting, it gives the viewer a focus.” (Rothman, 1997, page 21) Conflict framing does the same thing. It helps the parties understand and interpret what the conflict is about–what is going on and what they should do about it.  The way one frames a conflict is based on many factors beyond what “actually” happened. The way one interprets or frames a conflict is based on what has happened to that person (or group of people) in the past, what values are important to them, and whether they see the situation as a threat or a potential benefit. The way one frames a conflict is important for many reasons. For one, it determines whether a situation is seen as a conflict at all. If one person makes a rude comment to another person, the recipient of the comment may take offense (thus framing the situation as a conflict) while another might just ignore it, or laugh about it.