The Blame Game: Fun to play, if you don’t want results

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Most of us have been in a situation with a particularly difficult, frustrating person and found ourselves telling a friend, co-worker, or family member all about this jerk! How miserable they make our life, how if they would only change or go away, life would be better.

At first, this actually makes us feel better. Just getting it off our chest feels freeing. Even better, most times the person we’re talking to agrees with us! We bond over this troublesome “other.”

But after a while, it doesn’t feel so good. The frustration starts to mount again, we feel powerless to change the situation, and we even feel a little guilty for talking about someone behind their back. At some level, we know this isn’t our best.

So how in the heck do you confront someone like this? And, really, what would be the point, because you’re pretty sure they’re never going to change anyway. Besides, if you could work something out, how are you going to explain this to all the people you’ve talked to about this person?

At the same time, how can you do nothing? It is causing stress and anxiety and creeping into your thoughts at times you’d rather be thinking about something else. If it’s at home, you might feel uncomfortable in your own house. If it’s at work, it may be affecting your performance. Worse yet, stress affects our sense of well-being and health.

Here are some tips on how you can confront the situation and the other person to move forward:

  • Think about why you haven’t confronted this person. What are you afraid will happen? Imagine it and imagine how you will manage your and their reactions.
  • Think about what you want or need--the outcome or the action. Leave out any accusations--focus on the behavior you want changed, not the person.
  • Imagine when, where, and how to have this conversation to have the greatest success.
  • Plan out exactly what you will say and practice!

Check out this Difficult Conversation Worksheet (a free 3-page worksheet) to help you prepare. Or, if you would like to learn more about how to improve connections with the people in your life, click here to learn more about working with me one-on-one as your Conflict Coach.

Bobbie Dillon helps people create Peace-Full Relationships--harmonious relationships where both people’s needs are met--as a trainer and conflict coach. Check out more resources at Follow her on Twitter. Follow her on LinkedIn:.