Friday, August 26, 2011
I recently had an opportunity that gave me an idea to write about. When working or dealing with individuals who are angry, upset, or otherwise emotionally compromised it can be difficult to maintain a level-head, keep perspective, not feel personally attacked, etc. The following are some ideas on how to deal with it in the moment.
1. The Heat Is On. A fire creates heat and when fed with more oxygen or fuel, it will get hotter. If an individual is already escalating, the best thing to di is to lower your own voice, speak slowly and quietly (not condescendingly), and repeaet back to the upset individual the feelings they are describing. Individuals who are upset at you or with you are usually already experiencing some kind of internal conflict. Their upset or angry behaviors may not be a representation of how they feel towards you. Even if it is, if you remind yourself that you can calm the fire down by maintaining a quiet tone, the fire will not be fanned and become white-hot!
2. Pain, hurt, and fear. Most people get angry because they are experiencing an emotion that causes pain, hurt, or high levels of fear. They may subconsciously feel that they cannot handle the emotion and that the only way to deal with it is by raising their voice, or dropping their problems onto you. Just be aware, as before, that their behaviors may be being fed by their own pain, hurt, and fear.
3. "Go sell crazy somewhere else...we're all stocked up here" (Jack Nicolson--As Good As It Gets). Remember that you do not have to buy into other people's problems. Sometimes they just need to vent and want emotional validation. It does not necessarily mean that what they say is an accurate representation of reality. To them, it might be at that moment, but in their emotional state they may not be able to see other points of view. Don't buy into it. Just support the emotions.