Ideally, you want to adopt cautious, discreet measures that spare you unnecessary conflict. Instead of confrontation, avoidance should be your preferred approach. Here are some practical ideas about how to prevent unnecessary conflict.
Prevent unnecessary conflict
The first line of defence is simply to avoid people who constitute an obvious threat. For example, imagine that you are waiting at a queue to buy a cinema ticket
and you see a man approach. He is walking exceedingly fast, bumping
into passers-by, and he does not even stop to apologize.
His face shows a
stern expression, his eyes are focused on the side-walk, and he is
talking to himself, oblivious of his surroundings. He is headed
to collide with people waiting in the cinema queue.
For a moment, you
think of calling his attention, but your prudence takes over. You take a
step backwards and let him go through. Congratulations you have spared yourself some completely unnecessary trouble.
Pay attention to early signals
The second principle is steering away from people who are repeatedly involved
in fights. Imagine for example that you hire a new recruit for your sales team, a young man who
made an excellent impression during the interview. He possesses
considerable drive and ambition, together with first-class verbal
The young man seems to be the right kind of person to
represent your company. During the interview, he gave good answers to
your questions and you feel confident that you have made a great choice.
on his second week on the job, you perceive details that no longer
match the first picture. On Tuesday morning, he comes to work unshaven,
wearing yesterday's ruffled shirt, with a ketchup stain on his tie and a
bruise on his forehead.
Gently, you draw his attention to how
important it is for a salesman to give a professional image, but he
tells you that he has been involved in a bar fight. Two weeks later, a
similar episode takes place.
You hesitate for a short while,
wondering if he is going through temporary difficulties. That might well
be the case, but you know that you shouldn't take the risk of having
any kind of aggression against co-workers. You summon the young man to
your office and, regretfully, you fire him. Congratulations again, you have put an end to situation that could jeopardise your business and your future.
Discard irrational rigidity
As a general principle, it is a good idea to stay away from people who are irrationally
rigid in their attitudes or views. Imagine for example that, in the factory where you work, the Head
of Finance assigns you to take part in a project with several persons
from other departments. During the first meeting of the team, a
participant defends an untenable approach and opposes all sensible
suggestions from colleagues.
That person, whom you have never met
before, makes an overall impression of obstinacy and does not even
allow other team members to finish their sentences. His stubbornness
surpasses all tolerable levels and goes as far as threatening anyone who
disagrees with him. Should you face him head-on and engage in a verbal
Your best option is to try to have all important
decisions postponed and, as soon as the meeting is over, discuss the
problem discreetly with a few team members that you trust. Then,
together, you go to see the Head of Finance, tell him about the
incident, and have the troublesome individual removed from the project. Congratulations for a third time, you have prevented some serious problems down the road.
Say no to pointless confrontation
Another trait of people who are likely to cause unnecessary problems is that they use of offensive or hurtful words. Imagine for instance that you meet a very attractive woman and
begin to date her regularly. Her charms make her irresistible. You feel
that you have met the woman of your life and start thinking of marrying
The only aspect that troubles you is that, from time to
time, she gets disproportionately upset about problems or
inconveniences. One evening, when you arrive late for dinner due to a
traffic jam, she becomes enraged and attacks you verbally. You put the
incident down to her having a bad day and forget about it.
after spending a weekend together, you inadvertently wash her blue
dress with the white linen and she reacts furiously, shouting insults at
you. As a result, you decide to stop seeing her and call yourself lucky
for having detected the problem early enough. Congratulations, you have spared yourself plenty of unnecessary irritation and inconvenience.
Draw the right conclusions
recommendations exaggerated? Should you always be on the watch for
potential dangers? No, but you need to remain alert to a reasonable
extent. Wise people know how to separate their desire to live in a perfect
world from the reality of human experience.
When you detect an
aggressive person, avoid automatic reactions and behave as prudently as
you do in your everyday business dealings. Do not waste time trying to
fix the problems of strangers. Instead, move on and seek out the company
of benevolent, kind individuals, since those are the type of people
that are going to make a positive difference in your life.
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