You wake up, and you're ready for another day to make magic happen. Then this person you know that you can't altogether avoid decides to try and mess up your day. They call to complain about what they feel you're doing wrong after they have wronged you. They send you an email asking you to do something they already know you feel uncomfortable doing. Maybe they have already done something they know you will not like, and they make sure someone else gives you the news.
You know something like this will happen when this high-conflict person is being overly nice because it's not in their nature to treat you well. You start to ask yourself, why is this person being so nice? What do they have planned next? You know they're going to do something before they even do it. And they never disappoint.
Knowing this aspect of the relationship takes the stress away from the situation but still doesn't make everything okay.
What can you do when you have a person like this in your life you cannot avoid? Here are five suggestions.
1. Don't tell them too much about your personal life, no matter the situation. They feed on this type of communication and will twist your words to others.
2. Keep conversations short and in a text message. If possible, Don't talk with this person on the phone.￼ The option for them to gaslight you in the future is less likely when the conversation is in written text.
3. Let them save the drama for their mama. This person can't pull you into their drama if you don't play the game. Listen and don't respond with emotions. I always say treat the conversation as if you were conducting business.
4. Sometimes, it's hard not to display emotion, even through a text message. If you need to respond with emotion, use your words responsibly and think before you send.￼ Wait at least five minutes before responding.
5. Remember to breathe. Seriously, taking several deep breaths will give you time to destress and approach the situation from a better perspective. How many? As many as you need until you feel ready to calmly and effectively engage on an excellent outcome on your end.
Unavoidable high conflict people know you can't avoid them, but what they don't know, you're three steps ahead of them. Of course, you will need to make some compromises along the way, but if you follow the above suggestions, they may work to your advantage, giving you peace of mind.
Learn more about complicated relationships and how you can diffuse them peacefully at the next Essential Living Fall Retreat. Life is hard enough without adding more stress to it. Release some of your anxiety when you learn a few more ways to cope with difficult people when you attend. Register now. Prices increase on September 1st!