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Breaking Through to "Difficult People"

Dr. Mark Goulston

Dealing with people can be hard if they are angry, difficult, or upset. How do you reach someone when they are no longer listening? Here are 5 ways to break through to difficult people:
  1. “Do You Really Believe That?” When a person launches into an out-of-control rant about an awful problem or unbearable situation, how it’s the end of the world, etc., etc., simply ask: “Do you really believe that?” The trick is to ask this question in a very calm and straightforward way. Your intent is not to antagonize or degrade, but rather to make the rant-er stop and realize that he or she is really making a mountain out of a molehill. Once in a rare while, you may be shocked when someone responds to this question with a firm “yes.” If that happens, you should really listen to what that person has to say.


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