The funny thing about family is, one minute it seems impossible to coexist peacefully, but in the next, we couldn’t imagine life without them! Sibling rivalry can get particularly intense, even to the point of communication breakdowns. Ironically, these emotion fueled conflicts are usually waged out of genuine care for one another!
Often there’s a particularly stubborn family member who always finds themselves at the point of conflict. Even with your best efforts, every approach seems to end in an argument with them. In these cases, you need to call upon these smart communication strategies for dealing with stubborn people.
1. Don’t Escalate Situations By Trying to Prove Your Point
Don’t fall into the trap of proving your point against all odds. You’ll find yourself getting completely sucked in and slugging it out until they appreciate your point. This simply isn’t effective with stubborn people because they are often reacting through emotion instead of logic.
Even if what you’re presenting is a logical case, their emotions can blind them to seeing the reason. As a result, the argument goes nowhere and builds frustration. This isn’t good for either of you, especially if one of you reaches boiling point!
With this fact in mind, you should adopt a smarter communication strategy. Bury your ego and focus on soothing their emotions first. Once you’ve calmed them down, they’ll be far more receptive, possibly even coming around without much persuasion.
2. Find Common Ground to Relieve Rising Tension
Studies have shown that our stubborn tendencies are brought to the surface, the more people disagree with us. So when you start to feel that uneasy feeling and communication is about to take a turn for the worst, employ this next strategy.
Striking common ground is the fastest way to diffuse the situation, preventing the full force of stubborn behavior from taking hold. You don’t necessarily have to bend against your own will. Just switching the focus point or activity to something you can both appreciate. You’ll soon notice the tension in the air evaporating.
3. Don’t Get Locked Into a Power Struggle
If we have to deal with stubborn people, getting caught in a power struggle makes the whole situation worse. Especially when it comes to family members, hierarchy and position can often add fuel to the fire. Continued escalation just becomes a tug of war, the harder you pull, the harder they pull too!
Typically, stubborn people are more aware of the hierarchy and they will use it to bolster their side of the argument. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself in an “I’m the parent/oldest so I’m right” kind of situation. This is very counterproductive, you should aim to diffuse situations before reaching this.
4. Be Completely Honest, Don’t Attack or Blame
If an argument ensues, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotion and use tactics such as blame or attacks on character. At this point, constructive communications will become impossible! Instead, you should stick with honesty by expressing your true feelings (using “I”). Speaking from a genuine place is going to be the most effective way to bypass their stubborn nature.
Let’s say your brother smokes and you desperately want him to stop. Remaining calm and speaking sincerely will get you the furthest. Explain exactly why you want him to stop and how it makes you feel, as opposed to simply stating it’s terrible and dirty!
5. Speak, Stop and Listen, Ask Questions
It’s easier said than done, but this is the best way to deal with stubborn people. After honestly stated your qualm, sit back and listen while taking mental note of all their points. The mere act of showing your willingness to listen and understand may even dissolve their stubborn behavior.
What’s more, you can then carefully address each point in a calm logical manner. Once you’ve shown that you have taken their side of the argument onboard, they will be more receptive to hearing yours.
6. If All Else Fails, Let Them Cool Off
Sometimes we reach a certain point, then the best thing we can do is to give stubborn people time and space to cool off. If we continue to harp on, it falls upon deaf ears as they continue to build their resistance.
If you have employed these strategies correctly, this provides a chance for them to mull it over. Most of the time, they will come back to you, sometimes they even apologize for their stubborn behavior. If you notice this as a regular cycle, you may just have to accept that’s just how they are!