Difficult conversations, difficult people. Everyone deals with challenging interactions. Here are some tips to get through these situations.

How to Deal with Difficult Conversations

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We have all been there. You get into a conversation with someone and things take a wrong turn. It becomes a high conflict situation. Things are said that you wish weren’t. Then, not much is resolved.

“Instead of analyzing why some people can be so difficult, let’s focus on what we can control — our reactions.”

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Defining a Difficult Person or a Person that Behaves in a Difficult Manner

First, let’s discuss what is a difficult person, or better said, a person that tends to be difficult? This can be described as a pattern of behavior that includes strong reactions to situations and a tendency to personalize conflicts.  I’m not a fan of labeling someone as “difficult”.  Anyway, to me, when someone is behaving in a difficult manner, it usually comes from a place of pain or sadness. I keep that in mind to help you set boundaries. Here more about setting boundaries here.

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Being Calm is a Superpower

Next, you can’t always predict when you are going to have a difficult conversations. If I know that I am going to be having a challenging conversation, I strive to come from a calm space. For example, that may mean doing less that day. Being calm has always helped me maintain clarity of thought. 

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A continuación, no siempre puedes predecir cuándo vas a tener conversaciones difíciles. Si sé que voy a tener una conversación difícil, hago esfuerzo por mantener la calma. Por ejemplo, eso puede significar hacer menos ese día. Estar tranquila siempre me ha ayudado a mantener la claridad de pensamiento.

Have an Objective

Additionally, having a clear objective is one thing that has been helpful when having a difficult conversation. That keeps you focused so that you won’t get sidetracked by other topics. Also, it breaks down a problem into smaller and perhaps more meaningful pieces.

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Listen, listen, listen

Moreover, we are often crafting our response to a comment instead of just being present. Just listening does a few things. It allows you to listen for the emotions and what is really being said. Additionally, fully listening to someone allows them to feel seen and valued. That alone can bring the tension down. That also gives you a chance to slow yourself down.

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Say Your Piece then Detach

Also, we want to be realistic regarding the outcomes of a difficult conversation. The person you are talking to, if it is a difficult conversation, more than likely will not agree with you. Therefore, you want to focus on communicating where you are coming from knowing that the other person may disagree with you. Then, detach from the outcome. If they disagree, that is ok. 

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Separate the Person from the Problem

Finally, the difficult problem and the person are not the same thing. When you separate the person from the problem you are more likely to stick to the issue. Plus, you are less likely to personalize the problem. This isn’t easy but it can help you stay rational. 

Rather listen to these posts instead of reading them? Check out the Don’t Mix In podcast. Join me as I dive into the topics from the blog. Don’t Mix In can be found on Apple Podcasts and pretty much anywhere you find your podcasts! If you are into what you hear, be sure to subscribe and leave me a review.

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