skip to Main Content
How To Effectively Communicate With High Conflict People

How To Effectively Communicate With High Conflict People

Going through a divorce is hard. Going through a divorce with a high-conflict person is even harder. When emotions are high and communication is strained, reaching a resolution can seem like an impossible task. If you are dealing with a high-conflict person, read on to discover tips on how to communicate with them to achieve your goals – without stooping to their level.

What Is A High Conflict Personality?

A high-conflict person is someone who increases conflict instead of trying to minimize or resolve it. They often fall into a predictable pattern of viewing themselves as victims and always placing blame on others. This type of behaviour can be extremely frustrating to those around them and create very negative relationships. High-conflict people almost always initiate divorce wars and end up costing both parties a significant amount of time and money in the legal system. This is because they often create stories of deceitfulness and are uncompromising on even the smallest issues. Although you cannot control the behaviour of a high-conflict person, you can control how you choose to interact with them.

How To Deal With A High-Conflict Person

The B.I.F.F. response method is designed to improve communication with high-conflict people. It states that you should be brief, informative, friendly, and firm.

  • Brief: do not let your emotions guide your response. Focus only on the problem at hand. By keeping it brief, you reduce the ability of the other party to become defensive and show that you are unwilling to become engaged in a heated debate.
  • Informative: stick to the facts. Do not get distracted by personal opinions or aggressive statements that have nothing to do with the situation at hand. Occasionally, the best response is no response at all.
  • Friendly: try to keep all communication amicable. Do not use ultimatums or hostile language as these will almost always trigger the other party’s defensiveness.
  • Firm: its important to clearly state your position without inviting more discussion. Often, it can be beneficial to give the other party two options and only negotiate between these two outcomes.

How To Use The B.I.F.F. Response Method

High-conflict people are known for using technology as a tool to convey their aggressive messages. This is because its much easier to hide behind a screen than have difficult conversations in person. Its important to be able to recognize high-conflict communication and respond using the B.I.F.F. method. When you receive a hostile message take some time before responding. Negative messages always incite strong emotions. Take time to manage these feelings. When you are ready to respond ensure you keep your messages brief, informative, friendly and firm. The most important thing to remember is that these attacks are never about you.

Disclaimer: The content provided in the blog posts of Jones Divorce & Family Law is general information and should not be considered legal advice. Please contact a lawyer for legal advice tailored to your specific situation. All articles are current as of their original publication date.