How to talk to difficult people No 3

I wrote some blogs a few weeks back on how to talk to the difficult people in your household, especially those who find you even more difficult.  I hope that’s been going well, but remember it does take practice. Today I’m going to give some examples of things we say when we mean to be helpful but which never seem to make things better.  I’m going to offer some alternatives. Sentences that start: Why don’t you … If only you would … All I ask is that … ...  hardly [...]

Active Listening in Difficult Times

If you've volunteered to be a listener through the NHS Scheme or locally through a Mutual Aid group, this video should might help you collect some tips up your sleeve for the more challenging calls. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=006KdNQrKog              

How to live with difficult people during a lockdown No 2

Continuing in my series on how to talk to difficult people, especially those who insist you are the difficult one: In the previous post I talked about the benefits of asking the difficult person how they’re feeling and the importance of listening to the answer; how to check and demonstrate you’ve understood them, and if you haven’t, to listen again until they know they’ve really been heard. All this time, though, you haven’t had a look in. Now it’s your turn. You can’t wait to launch in with your much [...]

How to live with difficult people during a lockdown:

Loads of us are finding ourselves stuck indoors with difficult people who are (most unreasonably) accusing us of being the difficult one.  This could go on for a long time, so over the next week or two I'm going to blog on ways to turn arguments into constructive communication and the difficult person into someone you can manage and even enjoy to be locked down with for as long as this process takes. Step one: asking how someone is feeling and listening to the answer: 1     Before you get [...]

No such thing as a bully

Bullies have been on my mind lately.  A few weeks ago we had the headline in the Guardian about a ‘bullying culture’ in universities.  I work in this sector, so the story was both interesting and familiar and prompted me to a direct marketing campaign – I can help employers with this kind of problem. Next I conducted a mediation where both parties were complaining about being bullied by the other.  This isn’t as unusual as it sounds.  My job (successful in this case) was to help each party hear [...]

Why’s that boy wearing my jacket?

I heard a programme on the Radio 4 recently about humiliation.  It told the story of a boy who grew up poor.  His mum had found a fabulous jacket in a jumble sale, which the boy adored.  All his friends wanted to know where he'd got it, so he'd made up a story about a rich uncle in the States.  Then one day, fetching a ball from neighbouring flats, a kid shouted out why's that boy wearing my jacket?  The kid's mother yelled back that she'd donated it to a [...]

Talking too loudly on the bus

I am on a trip down the west coast of the US, taking in a few large cities and some smaller places.  It’s easy coming to the States, apart from the money.  Or not so much the money, but the tick I’ve developed whereby I can’t help comparing the notes to Monopoly.  It’s boring for anyone in the vicinity and I’m dealing with it.  The language is by and large the same; the culture is familiar from films and TV; America’s  political news was the world’s news even before Trump [...]

My Excellent Memory

I am proud of my excellent memory.  I know exactly what people said, what they wore, how the behaved, years back.  No one queries it, which is how I know I’m right. I am currently visiting the apartment in Aix en Provence that I first visited as a fifteen year old.  It’s not unusual to visit places you came to as a child, often you visit periodically over your life.  I guess it’s slightly less usual to have had a forty year gap. Several things have struck me.  First, I’d [...]