30 January 2009

Valid Responses to Drama

Sometimes in the world we run into people who are not all that healthy. These folks are often called dramatic or causing drama.

A model that helps us understand the nature of these dramatic interactions and our role in the communications that get going is the "Drama Triangle."

However, what I want to share today are some simple guidelines I use in avoiding drama with people who I must interact with but that are often attempting to get me on the triangle. 

In these situations here are my normal responses to comments attempting to get me into the drama:
1. I understand your point.
2. Are you asking me to make a change?
3. I have already committed to a change you asked for.
4. I have already said I will not commit to the change you asked for related to this item.
5. I understand what you’re saying and I respectably disagree with your point of view.
6. You have already said this about me several times and if you continue to attack me I will end the conversation.
7. Will you explain why you think this is a problem? (Ask for clarification)
8. Silence (learn the power of the pregnant pause.)

In case you need to present informaiton to this person (which I rarely do verbally) you should simply state facts. But in my experience there is not normally a good reason to present data to a person attempting to engage you in a dramatic conversation. Its best to write the facts down and present the information to the person that way.

However, if you need to respond or provide information constrain it to facts that are available from sensory input. 

Meaning if what you are talking about wasn't heard, seen, smelled, touched, or tasted you are probably not stating a fact but instead a conclusion or judgement. 

The facts should speak for themselves and differences in opinion, judgements, or conclusions are simply that differences. 

Further you should base your actions on your conclusions, judgements, and opinions but do not attempt to force them on to other person by trying to convince them that you are right and they are wrong.