Turning an Enemy into a Friend

Imagine a world where communication was consistently effective, where misunderstandings were easily rectified and conversation was productive... Amazingly I don't believe you need mood altering substances to achieve this state!

Just listen and enjoy, Amy

In the office Power posing! In this fascinating video, Harvard Professor Amy Cuddy shows us her research that demonstrates how certain poses can immediately (within 2 minutes!) improve your confidence and effectiveness.

At home How to get along with people who are in your life (whether you like it or not) and who are making you crazy!

Imagine the scene: Over a period of months your relationship with someone has been steadily getting worse, you see them regularly, and each time you see them you become more and more irritated to the point where you feel annoyed as soon as you set eyes on them. You're barely managing to be civil and you know your reactions are only getting worse...

How do you turn this around? Here's a radical recommendation, and the brave souls who have done it have seen remarkable results:

Treat the person as if you like them and enjoy their company I know, I know, you'll feel totally inauthentic. It's called 'TAS': Temporary Authenticity Suspension. The good news is, that inauthentic feeling won't last because eventually, you start to like the person!

It's a bit like starting a new job; you tend to feel like an imposter for a while and then in a rather short period of time, things feel more natural. You don't believe me? I dare you to test it out. Here's how...

Ok, so I can hear you're saying: 'Why on earth would I want to do that?'

1. Using this approach might produce a better outcome. (I'm assuming you've already exhausted all other 'legal' options)

2. We all know how much better we feel when we turn negative relationships around, plus research shows that 80% of our physical ailments are caused by our negative emotional state. So surely this alone has got to be worth giving it a go

3. When you actively override your automatic reactions, you create new neural pathways in your brain so it becomes easier the more you practice

4. Over time you will genuinely enjoy the person's company

So, how do I do this exactly?

Think of someone's company you actually do enjoy and notice all of the things you do when you are around them. This is your model for how you behave when you are with your challenging individual.

For example, you probably...

  • Smile when you see them

  • Hold eye contact longer

  • Laugh at their jokes (even when their jokes aren't funny)

  • Sit near them

  • Give them compliments

  • Show you are listening to them and interested in what they are saying

It's simple to understand and a bit more challenging to apply. So if you want less stress and better relationships, put your ego aside and start practicing!

As a general rule you'll need to use the technique multiple times before you can expect to see some changes, and longer if the relationship has got particularly negative.

Don't take our word for it Below is an email that one of our clients received after a conference call where she was literally screamed at by her boss. Despite being on the receiving end of extreme Predator behavior she practiced the Partner techniques in the moment and got this email as a result...

Hello Marilyn, Just after our call I realized that I probably sounded too harsh when explaining our needs. I'm sorry as I didn't mean that. I know you were just trying to raise a valid point on the ongoing operation with this account.

Hopefully you didn't even notice it or didn't take it badly, but I want to say I'm sorry for this anyway.

What did she do you wonder? The moment the boss began to yell, she let him interrupt her and pretending not to notice that he was being disrespectful, she continued to engage with him as if he was speaking reasonably. This is an aikido-like technique which will almost always tame the Predator effectively and, if you're really lucky, they'll apologize!

* The Predator Prey or Partner™ model is licensed content created by Pat Kirkland of Pat Kirkland Leadership Inc. Founded in 1990, PKL (patkirklandleadership.com) is a company with a purpose, the "soul" purpose of creating a world that works together better. Its business mission is to offer practical, powerful communication programs teaching people how to transform their work relationships by changing how they communicate.

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Predator, Prey, Partner is a trademark of Pat Kirkland Leadership Inc.

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