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5 ways to deal with people who hit your buttons

We all know people who wind us up, make us feel small, angry or useless, even over small things. The impact can be a minor niggle, ruin our day or ruin a relationship! It might feel like these reactions are out of your control but the good news is there are ways to minimise the impact and deal with differently. Here are our top tips:

1.Find ways of taking yourself away from the person or situation rather than reacting. People know they have hit your buttons, and some people even do it intentionally for a reaction so don’t fuel the situation. Suddenly feel the need to take a call or a call of nature. Unless they want to learn to behave differently, they won’t no matter how much you try and show or tell them, so it’s often best to just let it go and leave them with no fuel.

2. Practice a ‘non expression’ you can use with people who do this, a kind of blank, passive look that is hard to read. People often give away their reactions with eye rolling, looking down or shifting uncomfortably. Instead practice a grounded stance, feet hip width apart, your weight balanced evenly, like there are roots coming from your feet into the floor. This makes it harder for them to knock you off balance. Couple that with an expressionless expression and they won’t bother with you in future.

3. Get curious not furious. If you have a reaction, act curious instead of reacting emotionally. Ask them to explain what they meant by what they just said, or what was their intention in saying that. Ask with a curious rather than accusatory tone. Sometimes throw away comments like ‘some people might have been upset by what you just said, and I’m sure you didn’t intend that’, gives them a perfect back out whilst making it clear you won’t let them get away with it in future.

4. Breathe. If someone’s behaviour has hit your buttons, the first thing you have to do is go and calm down before you do anything else. Just taking a few deep breaths and saying something helpful to yourself like ‘it’s OK’ is usually enough to stop you carrying the energy into the next activity or meeting.

5. If there is a common theme in behaviour that hits your buttons, ask yourself ’is there something for me to learn about these kinds of people’. Do you need to learn be more assertive, deal with conflict better or improve your negotiation skills. Learning how to deal with the behaviour will make you more confident around those types of people and you will probably find that they will also stop picking on you.

Find out more about getting control of your emotional reactions using NLP with Karen’s free 45 min webinar on 21st November, find out more and register for free

Coaching is a really effective way of quickly learning how to deal with people who hit your buttons. A skilled coach can work with you to develop these skills in a tailored way. Download our free guide to finding a Coach.

Last modified onTuesday, 21 February 2017 20:05
Karen Meager

Founder of Monkey Puzzle and an INLPTA NLP Master Trainer, Karen is also a UKCP registered Psychotherapist and author of the award winning book Real Leaders for the Real World. Her new book Time Mastery; Banish Time Management Forever is out now.

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