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Avoiding conflict while dealing with difficult people

Avoiding conflict while dealing with difficult people

1234455​There will always be people in your life who make things difficult for you. In most cases, they won’t be deliberately making your life more difficult but in some cases, they may do so. Either way, you need to take action to make sure these people stop having a negative impact on your life. If you sit quietly and do nothing, these difficult situations will continue; maybe even get worse. If you do decide to deal with the issue, you run the risk of the situation escalating into a conflict. Avoiding conflict is important for your sense of peace and happiness but you can’t put up with poor treatment just so you can avoid conflict. The good news is that dealing with difficult situations and avoiding conflict can go hand in hand. You just need the right strategies and a little forward thinking.

There will always be people in your life who make things difficult for you. In most cases, they won’t be deliberately making your life more difficult but in some cases, they may do so. Either way, you need to take action to make sure these people stop having a negative impact on your life. If you sit quiet and do nothing, these difficult situations will continue; maybe even get worse. If you do decide to deal with the issue, you run the risk of the situation escalating into a conflict. Avoiding conflict is important for your sense of peace and happiness but you can’t put with poor treatments just so you can avoid conflict. The good news is that dealing situations and avoiding conflict can go hand in hand. You just need the right strategies and a little forward thinking.

Note

There is no such thing as a difficult person. It is just a repeated pattern of difficult behavior which that person chooses to use. However, for illustrative purposes, people find it clearer when we use the term ‘difficult people/person’ so I will use that term. Just make sure that when you find yourself in a difficult situation, you focus on the behavior rather than the person as that will get you the best results.

You can improve your communication and relationship skills with my FREE Checklist – Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing with Difficult People.

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​4 Powerful Strategies for avoiding conflict 

4 Powerful Strategies for avoiding conflict

​The following are four strategies which you can employ to deal with difficult situations while still making avoiding conflict a key aim:

The following are four strategies which you can employ to deal with difficult situations while still making avoiding conflict a key aim:

​1. Set boundaries

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  1. Set boundaries

​There are certain behaviors which will never be acceptable to you. You may get angry when somebody behaves in that way but do you have the right to? Have you communicated the fact that you won’t tolerate that behavior? That is what setting boundaries is all about. If other people are clear about what you will and will not accept, you will find that most people will happily avoid the unacceptable behaviors and thus avoid the conflict that may come with them.

Boundaries are really one of the best tools for avoiding conflict. Unfortunately, many people feel as though they have effectively set boundaries when they have not. They stop at the point where they have determined what is and is not acceptable. In doing so, they fail to make it clear to others.

If the people who interact with you regularly are not clear about your boundaries then you have not set the boundaries properly. When communicating, you must remember that the meaning of your message is the meaning received by the other person. For example, ignoring somebody​des not constitute communicating that you are unhappy with something they have said or done. You have only communicated that message when you have explicitly informed them that they said or did something wrong and you have made sure that they understand.

When setting boundaries, you may need to give the message more than once but once you have done so, avoiding conflict becomes easier because people know the consequence of the unacceptable behavior and are more motivated to avoid that consequence.

If you have trouble setting boundaries, check out My Life; My Rules

There are certain behavior which will never be acceptable to you. You may get angry when somebody behaves in that way but do you have the right to? Have you communicated the fact that you won’t tolerate that behavior? That is what setting boundaries is all about. If other people are clear about what you will and will not accept, you will find that most people will happily avoid the behavior and thus avoid the conflict that may come with it.

Boundaries are really one of the best tools for avoiding conflict. Unfortunately, many people feel as though they have effectively set boundaries when they have not. They stop at the point where they have determined what is and is not acceptable. In doing so, they fail to make it clear to others.

If the people who interact with you regularly are not clear about your boundaries then you have not set the boundaries properly. When communicating, you must remember that the meaning of your message is the meaning received by the other person. For example, ignoring somebody is not communicating that you are unhappy with something they have said or done. You have only communicated that message when you have explicitly informed them that they said or did something wrong and you have made sure that they understand.

When setting boundaries, you may need to give the message more than once but once you have done so, avoiding conflict becomes easier because people know the consequence of the unacceptable behavior and more motivated to avoid that consequence.

If you have trouble setting boundaries, check out My Life; My Rules

​2. Don’t blame

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  1. Don’t blame

​Eliminating blame is one of the most powerful steps you can take towards avoiding conflict. Blame puts people on the defensive. They feel like they are being attacked and nobody wants to feel that way. Blaming somebody else when things go wrong can lead to them lashing out at you or others. Alternatively, it can lead to them withdrawing back into their shell which doesn’t serve anyone either. The same goes for when you blame yourself.

Blame implies that somebody did wrong deliberately. It assumes that they were acting with negative intentions. Life is far better and conflict is rarer when we assume that other people always act with positive intentions the better approach is to encourage everybody to accept responsibility and demonstrate the same yourself.

Accepting responsibility is one of the most powerful things you can do. You are saying that something you did contributed to the negative results. This means that if you change that behavior and choose a better option, you are going to get a better outcome next time.  The important thing to note here is that you are focusing on the behaviors/actions which contributed to the unwanted outcome; you are not blaming the individual. Your aim is to work together to find the best way forward; a way that will allow everybody to enjoy a win.

Related article
: Accepting responsibility

Eliminating blame is one of the most powerful steps you can take towards avoiding conflict. Blame puts people on the defensive. They feel like they are being attacked and nobody wants to feel that way. Blaming somebody else when things go wrong can lead to them lashing out at you or others. Alternatively, if can lead to them withdrawing back into their shell which doesn’t serve anyone either. The same goes for when you blame yourself.

Blame implies that somebody did wrong deliberately. It assumes that they were acting with negative intentions. Life is far better and conflict is rarer when we assume that other people always act with positive intentions the better approach is to encourage everybody to accept responsibility and demonstrate the same yourself.

Accepting responsibility is one of the most powerful things you can do. You are saying that somethings you did contributed to the negative results. This means that if you change that behavior and choose a better option, you are going to get a better outcome next time.  The important thing to note here is that you are focusing on the behaviors/actions which contributed to the unwanted outcome; you are not blaming the individual. Your aim is to work together to find the best way forward; a way that will allow everybody to enjoy a win.

Related article: Accepting responsibility

​You can deal with difficult situations and avoid conflict at the same time

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​3. Choose your words wisely

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  1. Choose your words wisely

​It is very easy to blame others or assign responsibility to them when you are feeling bad e.g. you say that they made you angry. They didn’t make you angry. They behaved whatever way they behaved and you chose your response. You may not realise you chose it as it may have been a subconscious decision but the choice of response was definitely yours.

To realise this, you only have to notice how 2 different people can respond differently to the same situation. If two people react differently to the same situation then it can’t be the situation which determines the response. It must be the individual who chooses their own response.  So nobody else made you angry, jealous, disappointed etc. You chose that response yourself.

Remember that blame causes others to go on the defensive so, even a subtle switch from blame to responsibility can have a massive role in avoiding conflict. For example, rather than say ‘You made me angry’ you could say ‘I feel angry when you do…’ It may not seem like a lot but you are no longer blaming the other person; you are taking ownership of your own feelings.

Related article: 5 Tips to harness the power of words

It is very easy to blame others or assign responsibility to them when you are feeling bad e.g. you say that they made you angry. They didn’t make you angry. They behaved whatever way they behaved and you chose your response. You may not realize you chose it as it may have been a subconscious decision but the choice of response was definitely yours.

To realize this, you only have to notice how 2 different people can respond differently to the same situation. If two people react differently to the same situation then it can’t be the situation which determines the response. It must be the individual who chooses their own response.  So nobody else made you angry, jealous, disappointed etc. You chose that response yourself.

Remember that blame causes others to go on the defensive so, even a subtle switch from blame to responsibility can have a massive role in avoiding conflict. For example, rather than say ‘You made me angry’ you could say ‘I feel angry when you do…’ It may not seem like a lot but you are no longer blaming the other person; you are taking ownership of your own feelings.

Related article: 5 Tips to harness the power of words

You can improve your communication and relationship skills with my FREE Checklist – Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing with Difficult People.

Get Your FREE Copy!

​4. Have predetermined calming measures

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  1. Have predetermined calming measures

​I have always done some weight training throughout my life. When you are lifting weights lighter than you can manage, you can lift safely on your own; though safety measures should always be taken. As the weights increase, it is best to have somebody ‘spot’ you. This means that they are there in case you are struggling with the weight so that they can intervene to help you avoid injury.  Effectively, you are planning your way out before you begin.

Avoiding conflict can be approached in much the same way i.e. have a plan for calming things down before the conversation begins. This is especially important if you think there is a reasonable chance that the situation might escalate into an argument or; where you are interacting with the other person regularly and you know how they behave during a difficult conversation.

Some strategies you could use include:

I have always done some weight training throughout my life. When you are lifting weights lighter than you can manage, you can lift safely on your own; thought safety measures should always be taken. As the weights increase, it is best to have somebody ‘spot’ you. This means that they are there in case you are struggling with the weight so that they can intervene to help you avoid injury.  Effectively, you are planning your way out before you begin.

Avoiding conflict can be approached in much the same way i.e. have a plan for calming things down before the conversation begins. This is especially important if you think there is a reasonable chance that the situation might escalate into an argument or; where you are interacting with the other person regularly and you know how they behave during a difficult conversation.

Some strategies you could use include:

Use a specific technique e.g. the constructive feedback model

  • ​Agree that both sides will get to have their say and then you will both take 24 hours to think about how you would like to respond i.e. a cool off period

Agree that both sides will get to have their say and then you will both take 24 hours to think about how you would like to respond i.e. a cool off period

  • Set a time limit for the discussion

​Having a strategy for calming things down helps with avoiding conflict and helps both parties to focus on resolving the issue before it escalates into a conflict.

If you are having to deal with difficult people and you want to start avoiding conflict, the Deal with Difficult People Handbook will help you get on the right track.

Having a strategy for calming things down helps with avoiding conflict and helps both parties to focus on resolving the issue before it escalates into a conflict.
If you are having to deal with difficult people and you want to start avoiding conflict, the Deal with Difficult People Handbook will help you get on the right track.

​Conclusion

​Avoiding conflict is one of the most important things that  ​you can do if  ​you want to live a peaceful, loving and happy life. That doesn’t mean  ​you should avoid dealing with issues which need to be dealt with. In fact, if you don’t deal with those important issues, you will experience conflict anyway because other people won’t change their behavior or attitude unless you tell them that you won’t tolerate it anymore. However, most difficult situations can be dealt with successfully while still avoiding conflict. If you take the time to implement the four strategies, above, your attempts at avoiding conflict will become much easier and you will still be able to deal with any issues which may arise.

 

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11 Behavioural symptoms of stress

Like most problems; the sooner you spot stress the easier it is to manage. It pays to be familiar with the many different symptoms of stress. The symptoms of stress fall into many different categories e.g. behavioural, physical, emotional, psychological etc. Over the coming weeks I shall be discussing each of these, however, this week I shall begin with the behavioural symptoms of stress.

Stress can affect behaviour in many different ways but the following tend to be the most common behavioural symptoms of stress.

You can discover 10 Poweful Resourcs to eliminate stress with my FREE Report.

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Behavioural symptoms of stress

1. Sleeping difficulties

behavioural symptoms of stress insomnia

Sufferers of stress often find it difficult to switch off. With no activity to distract them, negative thinking, anxieties and worries take over the mind. Fear of having forgotten something and negative expectations of forthcoming events (e.g. interview, presentation) limits the ability to relax sufficiently to fall asleep. Sleep shortage and insomnia are often tell-tale signs of stress.

 2. Lack of punctuality

behavioural symptoms of stress poor punctuality

Timekeeping is one of the first things to suffer when an individual becomes stressed. They may take too many tasks on; try to avoid tasks and thus leave them until the last minute or they may be so overcome with worry/anxiety that they become forgetful. In order to remedy the situation, they must first identify why their punctuality is so poor.

 3. Absenteeism

behavioural symptoms of stress absenteeism

Stressed individuals tend to regularly miss work. They may be trying to avoid a difficult situation or they may be suffering the consequences of one of their coping mechanisms e.g. alcohol.

 4. Withdrawal

behavioural symptoms of stress withdrawal

Withdrawal is a common behavioural symptom of stress. The individual’s self-esteem and confidence may have taken a hit and as a consequence, they may no longer feel capable of coping with social situations. In order to protect their fragile confidence, they may choose to avoid all such situations.

 5. Exhaustion

behavioural symptoms of stress exhaustion

If we are to maximise our energy, one of the most important things for us to do is to balance our physical energy. There will be times when we are required to work at our maximum output for sustained periods. In order to do this we must implement periods of deep rest which enables both our body and mind to recover. Failure to do so can eventually result in burnout and chronic fatigue. The stressed individual may feel like they are constantly running from one emergency to another and thus fail to take the time to rest and recuperate. Constant fatigue is often a sign that someone is overwhelmed and experiencing stress.

 6. Addictive/excessive behaviour

behavioural symptoms of stress addictive behaviour

Those experiencing stress often don’t realise that it is stress which they are experiencing. Where they do realise this, they often have no idea how to deal with stress.  This can result in short term solutions which, though they have a temporary impact, have damaging long-term consequences. One of the most common coping mechanisms for dealing with difficulty is alcohol. While alcohol can have temporary benefit, it can be highly addictive and it fails to resolve the situation. Other coping mechanisms include smoking, illegal and prescription drugs.

 7. Unhealthy eating habits

behavioural symptoms of stress unhealthy eating

Comfort food is often sought as a solution to stressful situations. Indulging in convenience foods can make you feel better temporarily and saves time, however, these foods are rich in salt, sugar and fat which can lead to obesity, high blood pressure and heart related illnesses.

While we associate comfort eating with stress, some people have the opposite response to stressful situation i.e. they avoid eating. They may be experiencing a suppressed appetite, they may have developed a negative self image or they may have developed negative associations with food. Whatever the reason, the consequences of food avoidance can be every bit as devastating as the consequences of food indulgence.

 8. Risk-taking behaviour

behavioural symptoms of stress risk

A sudden development of risk taking behaviour can be a clear sign of stress. Individuals may be experiencing a low sense of self-worth or a lack of excitement in their lives.  They need a ‘buzz’ in their life and are willing to take bigger risks in order to get that buzz. Unfortunately, they level of risk they need to take to get the ‘buzz’ may increase steadily over time. They fail to see that as the risk gets bigger, so too do the potential consequences. Gambling is a common behavioural symptom of stress, which falls within this category.  Certain extreme sports and reckless driving are some of the other symptoms of stress which may fall under risk-taking behaviour.

 9. Accidents

behavioural symptoms of stress accident

Concentration tends to suffer greatly when one experiences stress.  In certain work places (generally more manual industries) this may result in a high number of accidents both fatal and non-fatal. Along with reduced concentration, the individual may also be overworked, poorly trained, displaying risk-taking behaviour or denied sufficient rest periods; all of which may be contributory factors in the stress.

You can discover 10 Poweful Resourcs to eliminate stress with my FREE Report.

Get Your FREE Copy Here

 10. High turnover in the workplace

behavioural symptoms of stress high turnover

Stressed employees are generally unhappy in their work situation. Sadly, many workplaces have not put the necessary training and procedures in place which would allow the employee to discuss their experience with their manager so that they may work together to find a solution. Rather than raise the issue, many stressed employees will choose to seek employment elsewhere.

 11. Suicidal talk or behaviour

behavioural symptoms of stress suicidal

Stress can diminish an individual’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth to the point where they feel that they cannot go on. In many such cases we do not get the opportunity to help the individual but in some cases they do drop subtle hints of their intentions. There are courses, such as ASIST, which can help to improve your chances of spotting these signs and intervening.

If you feel that you may be experiencing stress, check out Stress Free Living.

Many people feel too embarrassed or ashamed to openly discuss their experiences with stress. It is, therefore, essential that we familiarise ourselves with the behavioural symptoms of stress so that we may be able to identify what they are going through and remind them that the channels of communication are open and that we were willing to help them, or help them find more suitable help. You may in fact be experiencing stress yourself. It may be helpful to regularly remind yourself of the behavioural symptoms of stress so that you can identify it early and take appropriate action.

TAME SOCIAL MEDIA AND FOCUS ON THE IMPORTANT STUFF [Part 1]

Tame social media and focus on the important stuff

If you want to be as productive as possible, you need to eliminate distractions. You live in a busy world where there are so many things competing for your attention. If you don’t learn to control these potential distractions, you end up jumping from one thing to another without ever really finishing anything. 2 things above all else have made distractions worse than ever – the smart phone and social media. These things have meant that we don’t ever have to be out of touch. We can always be contacted. But just because we always can be contacted it doesn’t mean that we should always allow ourselves to be contacted. I will tackle smart phones in a later article but today I want to focus on taming social media.

Why taming social media is important

Taming social media is important because social media is highly addictive but adds little or no real value to your life. I am a firm believer in the 80/20 principle whereby very few of the things which you do daily, produce the majority of the positive outcomes in your life. In other words, the majority of the things we do daily, add little or no value. I invite you to take a proper look at your social media usage to determine the time you spend on it versus the value you receive from it.

If you are honest with yourself, you will find that:

  • You spend more time on social media than you had realized, and;
  • You get far less value from social media than you had thought

The social media zombie

During your typical day, how many people do you see who are glued to their smart phone. Their head is down; they have no idea what is going on around them and they probably have a cramp in their thumb from scrolling through their Facebook or Twitter feed. We are creating a generation of people who lack the social skills to survive in the real world. They are more concerned with the lives of their imaginary online friends than they are concerned with the lives of their real-world friends.

I have become more concerned in recent times by the frequency with which I walk into businesses and receive poor service because the staff are focused their social media accounts rather than the customers who pay their wages….

TO BE CONTINUED………

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Your life needs a sense of direction….

If you want to live a simpler, happier life, here is how; as written and explained by

Carthage Buckley carthage@coachingpositiveperformance.com

I am a very simple man and; I like to keep things simple.

I find the easiest way to keep things simple is to live life on my terms.

We really don’t have to bow to the demands of others.

A while back, I enjoyed a coffee and chat with an old client of mine, Mark.

During our chat, Mark asked me the keys to a simple life.

I gave him four key points which will give anyone a kickstart to a simple and happy life:

  • Know and live your purpose
  • Be true to your values
  • Have enough self-esteem to love yourself, come what may
  • Believe in yourself; knowing that you can do anything you set your mind too.

 

Your life needs a sense of direction.

Despite what many ‘experts’ will tell you, you do not need to look outside of yourself for all the answers.

When you learn to love, listen to and, trust yourself; your inner guidance and intuition will ensure that you can live your life on your own terms.

If you want less stress and more happiness, you need to stop trying to add stuff to your life.
Instead, you need to focus on what is truly important and live your life, your way.

The Brand New You Kickstarter – Click here to learn more

Have a fantastic weekend.

IT PAYS TO BE BACKWARDS…

Carthage Buckleycarthage@coachingpositiveperformance.com

‘He/She is a little bit backward’
This is usually meant as a derogatory comment about the way an individual thinks or acts.
However, the ability to think backwards is critically important.

For, example you may want to be more productive and live a happy and fulfilled life.

Who doesn’t want that?

To live a happy, fulfilled and productive life you need to consistently determine the most important thing which you can do in any given moment. Then, you need to get it done.

In order to determine the most important thing which you could be doing, you must know where you are trying to get to i.e. your purpose.

Simply put, you in order to decide what is most important now you must have your eye on the bigger picture i.e. the end goal.

Before there can be a most important task in the now; you must have a clearly defined purpose for your life.

To enable you to live your purpose, you need to have long-term goals which are in turn broken down into medium and short term goals.

This allows you to focus on those small actions which will complete your short-term goals.

Completion of your short-term goals leads to completion of your medium-term goals which in turn leads to completion of your long-term goals and so on.

But before you can design the right path for your life, you must start with your purpose and work backwards.

So, don’t be afraid to be a backward thinker. In fact, I highly encourage it.