February 9th, 2009
As mentioned in our last tip, http://www.DealingWithDifficultPeople.org, there are three stages of conflict in any difficult relationship. The first stage is called “Everyday Concerns and Disputes” (or Stage 1). This stages covers those day-to-day irritations that we all experience. For the most part, we ignore them. However, they could contine to build and create tension and potentially escalate to Stage 2 or 3 with time.
To avoid having these simple Stage 1 annoyances create a bigger problem down the road, a well-timed comment or request is often all that is needed. If it bothers you that someone in the office is constantly leaving the kitchen a mess, perhaps all that is required is a note in the kitchen, a comment at a meeting, or a conversation with the person responsible for the mess. A conversation is much easier than a confrontation.
Don’t address every annoyance, but those that you see starting to “get on that one nerve” left. Deal with it early and hopefully you won’t need a confrontation in the future.