How To Reduce Personal Friction When Things Are Speeding Up

The faster our lives become the more likely we are to create personal friction with those close to us. In this regard I am mostly talking about those people with whom you are in a close personal or business relationship, the ones  you depend upon most.

In this environment we frequently have no idea how difficult a time someone is having, not to mention our own challenges. If you are in a situation where you are depending upon someone to produce something you require it can be easy to have the communication flow disrupted. The situation can become even more aggravated as one party’s annoyance creates a reaction in the other person, and finally neither person knows exactly how to handle the ensuing breakdown.

The natural reaction is to point out how the thing the other person has done or is not doing is responsible for the mess. That leads to a reaction and or withdrawl in which lines are being drawn.

We can’t function effectively in this milieu. And if the differences disintegrate too far we can become lost, not knowing what to do or how to really solve the issue.

For example back in the agency business I could remember an account person furious with a creative person because the ad was not ready to show a client at the promised time. The account person would yell at the creative person saying they had promised this and this was the second or third time the would have to go empty handed. The creative person would respond by saying, “#@$%& you!  the creative director or someone else had dumped a bunch of EMERGENCIES on their desk with a “drop everything” and get this out.

What we had to do was to get both people back on the same team to solve the problem. We realized that in these circumstances what was missing was a skill set to find new common ground. The process went something like this: the first person is to say how they feel as the situation occurs. For example the account person might say, “ I feel so embarrassed. My word doesn’t count for anything. I’m losing credibility. I hate it, hate it. I can’t stand feeling this way.” The creative person is instructed to just listen. Then the creative person says what’s going on for him or her. For example they might say, “  I know your stuff was due, but all of these emergencies got piled on my desk at the last moment. I can’t even think straight. I just react, trying to put out fires. I’m a wreck.”

At this point two people who were mad at each other now can see what is happening to each of them is not necessarily because of what either one did or did not do, but to something that was happening outside of their control. They could now unite and together seek help to resolve this situation. They could both see the creative director and see if free lance help could be assigned or others in the agency  could lend a hand.

In short the resolution to the problem lay in each person understanding what was happening inside the other person, and realizing that they both required a more useful strategy, a more useful viewpoint from which to see how this situation could be changed.

My point here is that conditions can and will overwhelm, and one must develop skill sets to blame the situation rather than the person. In so doing energy gets shifted to resolving the situational issue rather than the personal problems it creates. By so doing mates can quickly depersonalize conditions, look to resolutions and use their energy constructively.

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