What are some tips for effectively communicating with a difficult person?
Obviously this would depend on the person, but it seems to me that people who are acting difficult usually have something else that is troubling that isn't seen. Helping such people is usually most likely with genuine friendship and kindness. Once those two things are established, a difficult person will often be more open to communication.
I must warn you: It's not easy! A whole lot of time you will end up frustrated with your attempt, and other time, you wish this person would just go away! You'll feel the defeat, but if you are persistent and strategic, you will eventually get through. Some tips:
1. Keep a positive mind and thoughts - if your mind is already clouded with the idea that you can't communicate to this person, big chance you won't be able to do so!
2. Listen; don't just hear what they say and remain open to chances where this person softens up
3. Stay calm; control your voice, breathing, and posture to a less defending/offending way, and bring about a wave of openness - if they yell, don't yell back
I'm very sure there are other tips. These are the three that are deeply embedded. When nothing else works, I just bless the person silently and move away. Try again another day...
In order to deal with "Difficult People" we must first recognize that it is ourselves that we have to keep in control during these situations. People who act in a difficult manner usually have a valid reason, and want to have their concerns validated first and foremost.
While they may scream, and shout at you it's really the "situation" that's upsetting to them, and they're not necessarily angry at you. By not taking it personally, acknowledging their emotions which are often vocalized (I'm very upset, I feel betrayed, this has hurt me etc.), and steering the conversation towards a positive resolution you will get better results.
I wrote a Hub about this topic, and you're most welcome to read through it for tips on how to effectively communicate with difficult people.
If a person is difficult there is little hope for effective communication. I think it's best to agree with whatever they tell you (just nod your head yes) and walk away, then do whatever you want to do in spite of what they tell you. It works for me! I hope it works for you!
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