Hate con­fronta­tion? Think of it as a skill you can learn. Help is here!

Glamour (South Africa) - - Front Page -

We need to talk… Hate

con­fronta­tion? Think of it as a skill

you can learn. Help is here

At work, 53% of us waste time stress­ing about clash­ing with a col­league – but whether it’s your ca­reer or per­sonal life, you need to mas­ter the C-word.

“Be­ing com­fort­able with a de­gree of con­fronta­tion is key to be­ing as­sertive and en­sur­ing that you’re not taken ad­van­tage of,” says psy­chol­o­gist Honey Lang­caster-james.

So, let’s get started.

1If you’re an os­trich

“Avoid­ing con­fronta­tion al­to­gether dam­ages your self-es­teem,” warns con­fi­dence coach Jo Painter. “Con­fronting some­one sends a pos­i­tive mes­sage to your­self: my wants and needs are valid. It’s self-re­spect.”

Start Small

“Work at the edge of your com­fort zone,’’ ad­vises Honey. It might be send­ing a dish back in a restau­rant, or say­ing no to a cold caller. “It’s about mak­ing grad­ual shifts in as­sert­ing your­self,” Honey ex­plains.

Flip your think­ing

Con­fronting some­one = up­set­ting them? Wrong. “Most peo­ple don’t re­alise that their be­hav­iour is af­fect­ing you,’’ re­veals Jo. “If you don’t give some­one an op­por­tu­nity to ad­just their ac­tions, you’re ac­tu­ally be­ing un­fair to them.”

pre­pare your open­ing State­ment

“Con­fronta­tion isn’t about win­ning or los­ing; it’s about say­ing how you feel,” says Jo. “And for os­triches, that can be the hard­est part.”

Keep it clear and con­cise – write it down be­fore­hand if you need to. “Be­gin with the facts; this is the situation or prob­lem, and this is how I feel about it.” Three or four short sen­tences are enough.

2If you’re a folder

You start well, but at the first hint of awk­ward­ness, you crum­ble. “We panic that we’re ap­pear­ing ag­gres­sive, and be­come too con­cil­ia­tory to com­pen­sate,” says Jo. In one study, vol­un­teers were put in a con­fronta­tional situation, and peo­ple who con­sid­ered them­selves too as­sertive were de­scribed as not as­sertive enough by oth­ers.

Don’t apol­o­gise

“Start­ing sen­tences with, ‘I’m sorry, I just…’ un­der­mines your mes­sage,” ex­plains Honey. Ditch the qual­i­fiers, too. You’re not “a lit­tle bit con­cerned”, but just “con­cerned”.

own your Feel­ings

Don’t bring other peo­ple into it. Eg: “It’s not just me – I know Di feels the same.”

“If you want re­spect, take re­spon­si­bil­ity,” ad­vises psy­chol­o­gist Emma Kenny. “Re­mem­ber that your feel­ings alone should be enough to pro­voke change.”

re­it­er­ate your So­lu­tion

“Have a clear idea of your ideal out­come,” says Emma. “If you’re vague, you’re easy to ig­nore.” Keep bring­ing the con­ver­sa­tion back to your so­lu­tion. Say, “I want to fo­cus on what we do next” or “As I said, there’s a way for us both to be happy.”

3If you’re an ex­ploder

For you, con­fronta­tion quickly turns into full-blown con­flict. “If you get an­gry, you alien­ate the other per­son,” says Emma. “You dis­credit your­self and your mes­sage. It might feel cathar­tic, but it won’t get the re­sult you want.”

use ‘i’ State­ments

“‘I be­lieve’ or ‘I want’ is more ef­fec­tive than ‘You do this’ or ‘You never do that’. If you blame some­body, they im­me­di­ately be­come de­fen­sive and, in turn, ag­gres­sive,” says Jo.

Stick to your point

“It’s tempt­ing to fall into the ‘chrono­log­i­cal ar­gu­ing’ trap – where you start bring­ing up past griev­ances to bol­ster your case,” ex­plains Emma. “But it al­ways back­fires and you lose sight of your goal.”

Slow it Down

Rid­dled with re­gret af­ter a blow-up? “That’s be­cause the log­i­cal part at the front of your brain has caught up with the emo­tional part,” says Jo. “Cre­ate pauses in the con­ver­sa­tion – lis­ten un­til some­one fin­ishes speak­ing and re­peat what they’ve said back to them. Or say, ‘Give me a sec­ond to think.’” They feel heard, and you have time to let rea­son take over from emo­tion.

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