We consider others to be difficult when they act in disruptive ways that annoy or stress us out. Be it a customer, family member, boss, friend, or someone else, there is nothing like an obnoxious person to test our limits. Most of us would prefer to avoid troublesome people all together, but sometimes there is no way to escape from interfacing with them.
Whenever you are caught in the crossfire of a volatile encounter, there are tactics you can deploy to lessen the chance for escalation. Master these tactics so they can become an instinctive part of how you address people who behave irrationally. It just might be the leverage you need to reach a productive resolution to a problematic interaction.
The foundation for defusing disruptive behaviors in others includes the following tactics:
Ensure your safety:
During an emotionally charged situation, never put yourself into harm’s way. If the other person begins to threaten your mental or physical well-being, remove yourself from the danger as quickly as possible.
Center your emotions:
To maneuver through a precarious situation, stay vigilant and composed as you work towards a meaningful resolution. Displaying signs of aggression, anger, or other negative emotions will only make matters worse.
Stay within boundaries:
Weigh out your options and the time, energy, and tolerance you are willing to invest in dealing with a disruptive individual. Don’t go beyond your limits or you might find yourself stuck in a no-win situation.
Show genuine kindness:
Counter aggressiveness in others by treating the person with respect, dignity, and consideration. Demonstrating authentic kindness sends a clear message of your concern which can do a lot to ease tension.
Be an attentive listener:
Set aside any preconceived notions you might have and carefully listen to what the person has to say. There may be levels of anger you have to weather before you get to the core of what the person wants and expects from you.
Act in good faith:
Base your next steps on the information you have gathered from the person and what is within your means to do. Being honest, fair, and open with the person will go a long way to gain their trust and deescalate the contention.
End on a positive note:
At the end of the interaction, leave the person with the knowledge you care, understand their concerns, and will do what you can to help them.
Seek to Improve:
After each disruptive encounter, set aside time to evaluate the aftermath in terms of what you did well and what you could have done better. Use this as an opportunity to become more proficient at handling your future interactions with difficult people.
Bar none, all of us can act out in disruptive ways, so how would you like to be treated when it happens to you?
Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living
Patricia K. Flanigan is a vibrant and passionate advocate for quality living and aging. She has dedicated over 28 years to working in higher education, but now enjoys a more peaceful lifestyle as the founding director and writer of Smart Strategies for Successful Living. In her free-time, she cherishes spending quality time with her family and friends, as well as getting out into nature with her beloved Samoyed dog, Wylie. Patricia loves helping others age gracefully and shares her wisdom through her content to promote the ultimate success in living.
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Source: Science of People