Dealing with “Difficult” People • There isn’t some kind of a magic formula that will work with everybody. • But there are some guidelines that can be very helpful.
What is the very first thing to do or not do in case of a fire? • DON’T PANIC! • Meaning don’t react to their being difficult. • When they come to us with their illogic, manipulation, accusation, complaining, anger, etc. Do we get defensive, frustrated, or get loud? • The way we look when we react is actually very similar to them when they started being difficult, the only difference is that “they started it” (Demo)
When we don’t react: • We can better use our minds not our emotions. (more to come on this point) • We can more easily separate between situations and people… We don’t want our dealing with one difficult person to make us difficult to another.
The Fist Exercise Methods of opening the fist: • The force and pain technique = If we force them, their reaction is to hold their fist tighter and will cause them to resist or resent us or both will give us the opposite results of what we want • The “bribe” technique = We were able to tap into internal motivation to get them to hear what we have to say as valuable to them.
Our Beliefs ? • e.g.: If I believed the earth were flat and I saw a ship leave shore and not come back what will my interpretation be? • That the ship fell off the face of the earth • So our beliefs create our interpretations = how we perceive and interpret everything happening around us. • Often our interpretations have much more to do with our beliefs than they do with the facts!
Our Beliefs Our Interpretations ? • e.g. ctd. : Now if I see another ship leaving shore, what will I be thinking? • I will be thinking that this ship too will fall off the face of the earth and will not be coming back • So our interpretations create our expectations.
Our Beliefs Our Interpretations Our Expectations ? • e.g. ctd. : Based on my expectation that whenever a ship leaves the shore it will fall off the face of the earth, what will this to build up in my heart? • A fear of sailing • So our expectations shape our emotions.
Our Beliefs Our Interpretations Our Expectations Our Emotions ? • e.g. ctd. : Since I now have emotions about sailing (fear), what will this fear / emotion cause me to do or not do? • It will cause me to not want to sail on a ship • So our emotions / fears about something determine or will change our behaviors.
Our Beliefs Our Interpretations Our Expectations Our Emotions Our Behaviors ? • e.g. ctd. : So since I decided not to sail on a ship and I am still here, therefore… • My beliefs are correct! • So our behaviors reinforce our beliefs.
Our Beliefs Our Interpretations Our Expectations Our Emotions Our Behaviors
Same thing with the difficult person • Remember babies are hard work, but they are not born difficult. • The difficult person has certain erroneous beliefs about the world. • For e.g. A person who has a low self esteem, feels the world in general is unsafe, so to compensate they act high and don’t believe in trust and cooperation. • If we let their difficulty cause us to become “difficult” in return, this will reinforce their beliefs about the world including us • Which will reinforce the undesirable behavior / difficulty that we wish was not there to start out with.
Knowledge is Power; Know what to look for • Customer service clerk at Wal-Mart who is rude and obnoxious with every customer! • You can feel you’re getting angrier and angrier with each step closer. • As you approach, someone whispers “she was just served divorce papers” or “she was just diagnosed with a terminal illness”! • What happens to all that anger? • Not only does it go away but it turns into compassion…Why ? Because… • Our beliefs about this person changed • Causing our interpretations of what they’re doing to change • Causing our expectations of how they should behave to change • Causing our emotions to change • Causing our behaviors to change
Proverbs 20:5 (1) • “Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, But a man of understanding will draw it out.” • When dealing with a difficult person, how do we tap into their internal motivation to hear what I have to say as valuable. = • How do we change the relationship we have with this person so that instead of an enemy they become more of an ally?
Proverbs 20:5 (2) • Often when dealing with a difficult person we try harder and harder to get them to listen to us…. To no avail • What we need to do instead is us LISTEN to them. • Often when we’re “listening” we’re actually forming our response or plan of attack. • When we listen to them • (A) we let them vent. • (B) more importantly we can look for what is most important to them at that moment.
Proper Paraphrasing • Show them that I am listening and tell them what I heard them say. • If they say “yes”, they know I’m listening and I’m on their side, not against them. • If they say “no”, it is still a good thing • (A) this means I missed something • (B) will still show them that I’m listening and on their side because I care enough to check with them whether or not I understood them
It is “serious” enough to them! • Sometimes people are difficult simply because they feel that we don’t understand the “seriousness” of their problem. • Imagine a distressed child who comes to me because they can’t fix their little toy, which, obviously to me, is easily fixable. • How will that child feel if I tell them “why are you making a big deal out of this?” “you should calm down, it’s not that big a problem”. • We need to show them that we understand that it is serious for them. This does not mean that we have to agree but see that it is serious to them.
Proper Order L E A P (1) • Listen: Active, appropriate listening with paraphrasing. • Empathize: Show (not tell) them that we understand how they feel and that we see that it is serious for them. • Ask: Sometimes people get difficult because they feel that we don’t value their ideas. Asking them for their ideas / input shows them that: • I heard them • I value them by valuing their opinion • I believe they are not too “--------” to come up with a solution • We take away their fear of us winning and them losing, because we will come up with a solution that included their input
Proper Order L E A P (2) • Problem-solve: Is the last step and is probably not that crucial to them. • Do NOT jump straight into problem solving. • It changes the order from a LEAP of joy because we listen to them and value them and their input to a … • PLEA for us to listen to them and value them and their input.
Reminders (1) 1. Don’t Panic = don’t react. 2. The bribe technique = tap into their internal motivation. No force. 3. Our Beliefs Our Interpretations Our Expectations Our Emotions Our Behaviors Our Beliefs. (babies are not born as “difficult” people) 4. Knowledge is power; Know what to look for (The Wal-Mart clerk example)
Reminders (2) 5. Proverbs 20:5. Tap into their internal motivation to hear what I have to say as valuable. 6. Proper Paraphrasing 7. Show them that we understand that it is serious for them. 8. LEAP: Listen, Empathize, Ask, Problem-solve. Not PLEA ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dealing with “DIFFICULT” People Part II
BOB = Beware of “BUT” • “I see what you have to say, BUT I have some thoughts about that as well” = ? • “but” negates whatever I said before it. If I do that they will not hear anything else I have to say after “but” • “I see what you have to say AND I have some thoughts about that as well” = ? • Now they will be more open to what I have to say. And • I’m joining their solution with mine to work together = we’re allies not enemies. • If you must, say the negative first and then “but”
LEAPS (the St. Paul Sandwich) • Speak to them without blaming or criticizing. • If we blame or criticize, we automatically put them on the defensive and if they’re on the defensive, THEY ARE NOT LISTENING! • If we want them to actually hear what we have to say, we need to make them feel safe enough to focus on what we’re saying instead of focusing on defending themselves. • St. Paul’s letters. e.g.: Philemon. (Start with complimenting / making feel safe, give the meat and end with complimenting again)
POWER (1) • Prevention is better than treatment • Act and live Purposefully • Some people just react to whatever is going on in their life. • I need to think about what my purpose is and always ask myself “Is what I’m doing congruent with my purpose?” • If I do this, I may be able to avoid some difficulties or at least to nip them in the bud.
POWER (2) • Looking at Our past at home and how conflict was dealt with sheds a light on how we may deal with difficult people and in what ways we should or should not behave and what if anything we need to change. • Awareness of our past serves us by letting us see what unprofitable ways we need to let go of and what good methods we learned to hold on to.
POWER (3) • Use the Wisdom of the serenity prayer “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference" It does NOT say: • "God, ok, if I have to accept what I can't change, I guess I'll accept what I can't change and I'll just change what I can and then … I get serenity." • It is not called “the get it all done prayer” or “the make people be how I want them to be prayer” • We can not change people when they're being difficult. • First we can change our response and how we behave with them and then this will create the opportunity and open the door for us to have some influence over the situation. • If we start by trying to change them, they will naturally become more resistant.
POWER (4) • Difficult people have a general Energy of Fear. • They’re afraid … : • We won’t listen • We don’t understand the “seriousness” of their problem or that they have the right to be upset • We don’t value their input or their ideas • If we “win” and they “lose”, we will criticize and blame them • So I need to pause for a moment before responding in order to: • Give them a chance to feel that I’m listening • Gives me a chance to think of what my purpose is and of something better to say and of what this person really needs (often what is bothering them is not the actual issue, but something deeper) • If I look at them as someone fearful, this will change my whole view of them and the situation and will make it easier for me to have some compassion and show some Christian love toward them. (1st John 2:11) “But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
POWER (5) • Take Responsibility for my response-ability • Don’t say “he made me so angry”, “she made me yell or made me get stubborn about the whole thing” or “he made me make this choice” … etc. • If I blame someone else for “making” me feel or do or say something I don't want to do, this means that they have total power over me. • If I want to take the power back and give it to myself, I need to take responsibility for whatever I say or do
Don’t shoot the messenger (1) • Why is there a good bit of arguing and fighting when the couple is newly wed? • Why is a ship with two captains at a higher risk for sinking? • Remember when we talked about how different people are simply because of their birth order? • Remember that YOU are a difficult person to somebody else.
Don’t shoot the messenger (2) • If I’m dealing with a difficult person, ask myself the question: How would _______ deal with this person right now? • Would a more spiritual person not find “difficult person” that difficult? Or at least take longer to consider them difficult? • Picture two people arguing together “A” is difficult and “B” is not, • then person “C” who is more spiritual than “B” comes in the picture, speaks for a minute to “A” and then whole issue is over. • What was the main factor that ended the issue? • The fact that “C” more spiritual / wiser than “B” • We need to thank God for difficult people! Because: • They bring out what is not right in us = they reveal our sin
Reminders (1) 1. Don’t Panic = don’t react. 2. The bribe technique = tap into their internal motivation. No force. 3. Our Beliefs Our Interpretations Our Expectations Our Emotions Our Behaviors Our Beliefs. (babies are not born as “difficult” people) 4. Knowledge is power; Know what to look for (The Wal-Mart clerk example) 5. Proverbs 20:5. Tap into their internal motivation to hear what I have to say as valuable.
Reminders (2) 6. Proper Paraphrasing 7. Show them that we understand that it is serious for them. 8. LEAP: Listen, Empathize, Ask, Problem solve. Not PLEA ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 9. BOB. Beware of “BUT” use “AND” instead 10. LEAPS: Speak without blaming or criticizing (the St. Paul Sandwich)
Reminders (3) 11. POWER • Prevention: What is my Purpose and is what I’m doing congruent with that purpose? • When dealing with difficult people, Our past can shed a light on what we need to hold on to and what we need to let go of. • The Wisdom of the serenity prayer reminds me to work on what I can change first (me) to open opportunities for me to influence what I could not change at first. • Remind myself that what makes people difficult is a general Energy of Fear of something and to pause and calm that fear • I need to take 100% Responsibility for my response-ability 12. Remember that YOU are difficult to somebody else. 13. Ultimately what difficult people do is reveal what is not right in me = It’s an opportunity for me.