PLEASE, ANSWER THIS SHORT QUIZ SINCERELY:
1. Did one of your best relationships fizzled and ended unexpectedly this year, against your wishes? Still you don't understand what happened?
2. Have had the feeling that people avoided you or tried to leave you aside at work?
3. Very much loved people began reacting with anger and barking at you, out of the blue?
4. Feeling more isolated than before and having difficulties making new friends?
IF YOU ANSWERED YES TO one or two, then we need to talk!
It is probably that people around you are reacting to your communicational style. Even when you have had a harsh year and sometimes feel justified answering people in a “shooting from the hip” fashion, now it is the time to pay the bill. The consequences are daunting, because once you establish a reputation as someone difficult to talk to, and reacting aggressively and in self-defense to any feedback, then people show that this style is not acceptable. And they prefer to escape, leave, and abandon the relationship without a word…..or perhaps after the final, strong confrontation with you.
New Year's Eve is a wonderful opportunity to think things a new. Perhaps you are ready to stop counterproductive behaviors and attitudes? We all want to install new behaviors coming next January 1st almost by magic. Those attitudes and behaviors, we imagine, will make our lives more satisfactory and fulfilled…..because they will bring us more acceptance, love and company.
Well, YES!!! It is possible to have a new set of attitudes, but you have to be ready to bit the bullet and change! Wishful thinking and magic will not do it. Too much work? Let's see: if you are able to apply ONE small change each time and see what happens…
Let's call this plan the “JANUARY FOUR WEEKS OF CHANGE.” In each week's change proposal you will find the target behavior and some easy steps to get to it.
FIRST WEEK OF JANUARY: being a more fair contender.
You have developed the reputation of a harsh critic. Without denying the observation skills that have made you famous, let's put them to an alternative good use: Identify first in each person a good, positive aspect to be acknowledged.
a) always begin every feedback session with an appreciative comment, done in a loving way.
b) remember the positive behavior and mention it any time that is possible. Praise real accomplishments.
c) always ask if the criticized behavior is somewhat dependent on you and whatever resources you could provide to improve it: role modeling, encouragement, training, etc.
SECOND WEEK OF JANUARY: preventing negative emotions from blowing up.
You have decided, way ago, that negative emotions should be left out as much as possible from your interactions, by denying or repressing them. Now, we are going to let them dissipate without hurt, by following the
a) Stop escalation, and ask for time off, if you can't control your rage. See if you can identify not the anger, but the hurt feelings….Say: “I'm sorry, this issue affects me and I need time to cool off…”
b) Express how it hurts, with the emphasis on you. I statements begin as: “When you do this to me, I feel hurt because…” Avoid blaming, and keep talking about the effects of that behavior on you….be concise: it hurts me because I lose sleep, or security or money if you do this behavior.
c) If the conversation escalates into angry words, you can de-escalate by talking about how much the relationship, your mutual project or whatever you have in common is suffering. Pain is the other side of the coin of anger.
THIRD WEEK OF JANUARY: improving communication skills
Most part of our life's quality depends on the quality of our communication style. Here are your steps for this week:
a) Watch your language, and begin washing out words commonly used that can be aggressive or inflammatory. If you stick to a description of the facts (at the least the part of the facts you know), your language will be more effective. You would want to use clear, direct statements and not evaluative comments.
b) Avoid using the words "never" and "always" because they tend to stir up emotions and fan emotional fires. These words are obviously untrue, because you can't prove any length of time so long, and accomplish little in a confrontation, destroying any credibility of the person doing the confronting.
c) Learn to listen. One of more positive behaviors in confrontations is to be sure to really listen. Make a point of repeating to the other person what he said, adding perhaps an acknowledgement of the emotional state: “What you are telling me is that the situation in your company is so bad that you are sure your position will be terminated and that has you in a serious problem concerning the payments of your home”. Difficult conversations require total attention. Listening validates people, and confirms first that their perception is received by you, encouraging them to move into problem-solving.
FOURTH WEEK OF JANUARY: becoming the solution-centered person.
To move from being a person isolated by others, to a person who is sought after because she provides good solutions, here are the steps
a) Be the person who does not evade talking about a difficult issue. Volunteer your help by mentioning issues that are problematic, worrisome or sad, in a respectful way. Help other people overcame denial.
b) Be solution centered. It is so easy to deny the problem and go for the "let's get this over" conversation instead of the "let's get to the heart of this problem" discussion. Make the decision beforehand to stay at the table of confrontation until a solution is found and restoration is achieved.
c) Make a point of being patient. Even if no solution has been agreed, there has been improvement in the fact that people could talk about what worries them, be listened, and had an opportunity to begin thinking about solutions in a respectful environment. All this is already progress! Perhaps that is all what they need to make their own decisions, but you have supported them, and given them freedom to search for their own solutions.
You will live without fear of conflict, feeling the mastery provided to you by the good ideas, suggestions and techniques included in the Conflict Mastery Program offered by http://www.positiveconflicts.com Once you have learned the "whys of conflict," ask for the coaching FREE session offered at http://www.norafemenia.com, where there is skilled Conflict Coaching available for different personal areas with conflict. It is designed for individuals experiencing high levels of inter-personal conflict, or for persons needing to change their “Difficult Person” image, or also for individuals fearing incoming rounds of negotiations and deal making with angry opponents from ex-spouses to other “enemies."
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