It’s an uncomfortable feeling and often baffling as to why some people would choose to put us, or others, ‘on the spot’. Why do they do it and how can you deal with it?
Some of it is to do with ‘emotional intelligence’ and being able to read emotions – some people haven’t developed that, either because of poor role models when they were younger or perhaps they’ve been encouraged to ‘say it how it is’ (often a recipe for rudeness, I’ve found!). Some people are good at understanding others through their facial expressions or their voices, but not everyone can, or wants to, do that.
Or another reason for putting you in a tricky position could be that they do it before something similar or awkward happens to them – either way, if you’re the butt of difficult questions or remarks, how do you deal with it?
Here are a few pointers that will hopefully help:
- Trust yourself – this sounds easy but if you often dismiss your own ideas, thinking that they’re ‘silly’ or not worth thinking about, other people will often do the same. So, trust what you’re thinking and value your plans and thoughts.
- If you know that a certain person often tries to make you feel embarrassed or awkward, try preparing a few things that you might say in return, such as “I hear what you’re saying but I need some time to think about it” or “That’s interesting; I’m not sure if I agree but maybe you could say a bit more….?”. In other words, don’t react defensively, but try to maintain some dialogue with that person.
- Speak slowly, if you decide to answer what they’re asking or saying. Take a deep breath (or two!) before you get flustered.
- If someone is verging on being really nasty and is trying to make you look small, remember that you deserve respect and make it clear to them that you won’t tolerate their put-downs.
- Look up assertiveness training on-line and then join a course. It can make all the difference!.
Please do comment on my blog if you have found it interesting, useful or otherwise. You can see my blogs as soon as they are published (usually on Wednesdays) by pressing the ‘follow’ button and you can share them with your friends. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Instagram (samebutdifferent) and read my FB posts at Same But Different.