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12 Ways To Deal With Stubborn People And Convince Them To Listen

12 Ways To Deal With Stubborn People And Convince Them To Listen

If you have a stubborn person in your life, consider yourself lucky. Stubborn people can be annoying, stressful and drive you crazy. Your stubborn person could be the person who sits next to you at work or your own father. Once you learn how to work with him (not against him), you will be shocked to discover how strong, smart and clever you are.

1. Bring it on! Start a new attitude.

View a stubborn person as an opportunity to become a better version of yourself. You’ve heard, “You can’t change anyone else, you can only change yourself.” Well, here’s your chance. Change the way you view that challenging person.

2. Take a pause.

Resist the urge to engage in an argument. Impulse control is a character strength that will help you. Don’t give in to your defense impulse. Excuse yourself to go to the bathroom (where you can let out a scream, shake it off, and go back to the brick wall you have to face).

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3. Play word chess.

Strategically plan your conversations. The right move with the right words can result in a positive outcome instead of a fight. It’s up to you to say the right thing. Just do everything you can to avoid saying “No, you are wrong.” Present your opposing opinion with respect and dignity.

4. Get them to listen to what you have to say.

Sit down, don’t talk to your boyfriend if he’s in the bathroom while you’re sitting in bed. Take it to a table. Try to keep the conversation business-like. Listen to the volume and tone of your own voice. Remember: Talk face-to-face and heart-to-heart.

5. The right time…

Wait for the opportune moment to make your point. If you’re talking to a man, feed him first. If you’re talking to a female, before you talk, check out her mood stats. Is she stressed out and annoyed or smiley and calm? Ask yourself, is this the best time to present my case?

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6. Go slow.

This is a process. Learn to wait (discover how patient you can be). It takes time to open a closed mind.

7. Break it into segments.

A stubborn person suffers from temporary hearing loss. The only opinion he hears is his own. An opposing opinion should be delivered in small portions. Plant seeds, leave pebbles, break it down. Little segments are easier to digest.

8. Think about their point of view.

Practice compassion. It’s hard to be patient with a person who is pushing your back against the wall, but try to understand (without doing a full psychoanalysis) what she sees. If you have four brothers and enjoy seeing her, your only child girlfriend will not understand why you want to meet her for dinner once a week.

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9. Stubborn people are smart, good in business, and great decision makers.

Don’t rush to change him. Flip your thinking: Realize a brick wall attitude is a positive strength. Persistence is a good thing. Stubbornness is a close relative of perseverance; a trait needed for success. Think of how it benefits you.

10. Take the reigns.

Do not hook into his anti-everything, nay-saying attitude. See through it, identify it, acknowledge it (silently in your mind), and take control of how you handle the situation. Without putting him down, try to see his point of view and then respectfully (no head-butting allowed) show him his opinion is important, then gently ask him to respect your opposing opinion.

11. Breathe deeply.

Dealing with a stubborn person can be exhausting. It feels like you are walking on eggshells, whenever you take a step, you can hear the crackling under your feet. Whatever you say is never the right thing to say.

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12. Enjoy the new you!

Once you master these skills, you are the king (or queen) of the conversation. You are now calmer, smarter and stronger than you were before. Sounds like a lot of work but when you practice these tips, it will become natural. Look at it this way: Some of the greatest contributors to society are of strong mind and will. Where would we be without the stubbornness of Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates? Stubbornness is the drive to push through the challenges, (as long as you’re not one of them).

There is a fine line between stubbornness and persistence. Strong-willed people are not easy to deal with when it comes to people skills, but ironically enough, it could be one of the secrets to success. Determination and persistence are character traits required for success.

Even Bill Gates admits he is stubborn. In a Rolling Stone Magazine interview, when Bill Gates was asked: “You mentioned Mark Zuckerberg. When you look at what he’s done, do you see some of yourself in him?” Gates, “Oh, sure. We’re both Harvard dropouts, we both had strong, stubborn views of what software could do.”

“Stubbornness almost to the point of dumb optimism [allowed me to be successful].” Tom Horton, former president and CEO of American Airlines.

Stubborn people are strong-willed people, a skill necessary to become successful in business. However, it’s not easy to live with them. Once you stop viewing this personality trait as negative, stop butting heads with them, and learn how to deal with a determined leader, you will become the top gun. Thank your stubborn person for making you a better person.

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June Silny

ADHD Coach, Writer, ADDitude Magazine featured contributor

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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