Have you ever been in a conversation when the entire tone takes a turn?
It’s the worst.
You’re talking to a friend, and suddenly a word you said immediately puts them on the defensive.
Many of us have been there once, twice, or ok…a few hundred times where our peaceful state of mind is rattled.
You can use these tips the next time someone loses their cool and you want to stay calm.
It’s not you, it’s them.
Their harsh tone may be a result of something else happening in their life you don’t know about.
Maybe they are having marital problems with their spouse.
Maybe their aging parent is sick, and they are emotionally and mentally exhausted as a caregiver.
If their behavior seems out of the norm, show them a little extra grace.
Don’t fall into the trap of getting consumed by their negative outlook as well.
Have a forgiving heart. Sometimes you don’t have the entire picture.
Breathe deep and refrain from fueling the fire.
Everyone knows what lighter fluid on fire does. It gets bigger and hotter.
Don’t be the lighter fluid.
The other person is worked up. Their internal temperature gauge is rising, and unfortunately, you are standing nearby to take the brunt of it.
Breathe deep and bring the emotional thermostat in the room down.
Get softer and a little quieter with your words.
Use your facial expressions to show you are calm and actively listening.
Do what you can to snuff out some of their flames.
Change the topic of conversation.
Take note of the triggering topic and stay clear.
Start talking about something else you know brings them joy.
Ask about their kids.
Focus on the upcoming vacation they have been talking about.
If you want to walk away with your calm demeanor intact, end the conversation on an uplifting note.
You will feel better, and the person you’re talking with may even be inspired to turn their day around.
Give yourself some physical distance.
Sometimes a conversation is so intense that you need to walk away and get some space.
Venture outside and take a walk alone. Go on a drive and turn on your favorite song or podcast to make you smile.
The conversation can have the power to ruin your day only if you allow it.
Sometimes out of sight, out of mind is the best cure.
Trust your instincts and find a relaxing spot to decompress.
Then take a breath, say something positive to yourself, and reclaim the peaceful feeling you felt originally.
Conversations won’t always be easy peasy.
Some will be flat-out difficult and hurtful.
Next time you find yourself in the middle of a hot mess exchange with someone else, remember these tips:
- It’s not you, it’s them — have grace and be forgiving
- Breathe deep and refrain from fueling the fire
- Change the topic of conversation to something positive
- Give yourself some physical distance if it’s too intense
If you use one or all of these tips, you will be closer to staying calm and being a happier person for it.
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This post was previously published on medium.com.
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