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How to Stand Up to Blamers, Whiners and Complainers

A simple way to deal with difficult people

A whiner is a yeller in sheep’s clothing;
A yeller is a whiner in creep’s clothing

There are few things more exhausting than dealing with blamers, complainers and whiners.

Why?

Because if at your core, you’re a decent non-hostile person, these people push you past your frustration into your rage and it takes all your energy to keep a lid on it and to not react from it.  And that is exhausting.

You can try – and probably do – avoiding them, but just hearing a voice message, receiving an email or even worse a text message (where they expect a quicker response) still finds it’s way to the knot inside your stomach.

Are you up for a different way to respond?

If so, try the following:

  1. Never expect them not to come from that ugly and manipulative part of their personality if they want something from you and don’t want to do something you’d like them to do.  One of the ways these people get to you is that they catch you flat footed, when you should know that this is how they nearly always react.
  2. Instead, hold a little of yourself back so that when they go for the gut, you will still have the presence of mind to look them squarely (but not aggressively) between their eyes and do the next steps.
  3. Let them punch themselves out verbally and even if they’re aiming their every word at your stomach or between your eyes, imagine that it’s going over your shoulder.
  4. When they finish, say in the least provocative or patronizing way to them, “What in your mind’s eye do you want me to do and, I’m not trying to upset you, what have you done that causes you to feel you deserve that?”
  5. Most likely they will stop momentarily, because their manipulation has not worked.  However that will quickly pass and they will then reload or get angrier and say something even more infantile.
  6. Let them finish what they say and then respond with, “No I’m serious.  What have you done or sacrificed for someone else, in this case me, that earns you the right to have me do what you want them to do? In other words, why should I owe that to you?”
  7. They will again most likely become frustrated and agitated and vent something else at you.
  8. Again let them finish and then say, “Let me try to make this easier to understand, if you’re asking me to go out of my way to do something for you that requires effort, you are asking me a favor and it means I get to ask one of you.  If you can’t agree to that, then I’m afraid my answer will have to be, “No.”
  9. Then remain calm even if they launch a tirade at you and need to have the last word.
  10. If you do have the chance to say something try, “Look if it’s really important to you that I do that favor for you then just realize that it’s only right for you to do a favor for me in return.”

If you try the above and since I am always trying to improve how I may serve you, I would greatly appreciate your sharing your comment below about how this worked out for you and how you would suggest improving it further.

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Mark Goulston, M.D., is the author of the new bestselling book Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.

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