Thriving Under Fire Blog

How One Man Defused a Situation with One Very Simple Skill... 

Posted by John Faisandier on Jan 18, 2018 11:41:22 AM


It's very easy to respond to aggression with aggression... but what if we reacted differently?


Alan was out shopping one weekend and couldn’t find a car park anywhere. Since he would only be a few minutes he decided to take a risk and park across the driveway of the business next door to the shop he was visiting.

When he returned to his car, Alan found one very angry business owner, shouting and swearing at him for blocking the driveway and preventing access to his business.

At first Alan was taken aback. His usual reaction would be to fire a rebuttal straight back at the guy. That would have led to a shouting match and he would have driven off in a rage, even though it was his fault the guy was upset in the first place.

But Alan didn’t do that. Instead he remembered the key message from the first session of the TUF workshop he did the week before:

"Acknowledge the Emotion"

Instead of yelling back at the business owner, Alan acknowledged and validated the reason for his aggression. "I guess it must be pretty frustrating having people park here all the time, I'm really sorry".

Surprisingly for Alan, it worked! He was amazed how quickly the guy calmed down. "It was almost instant" Alan exclaimed during the second workshop session a couple of days later.

 “I didn’t really believe it when you told us this last week but I can see that it really does work”.

"Never in the history of calming down, has anyone ever calmed down by being told to calm down"


As with any new way of thinking, a little scepticism is normal, but the proof is in the results. The simple task of acknowledging the feelings of an aggressor, complainant or simply a difficult customer could be the difference between an escalating situation and a peaceful resolution.

Try it! and share your successes with us here at TUF.

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Topics: Angry, APE, Emotion, Physical Reactions, Upset People, Sceptical

Russell Crow kicked out of pub

Posted by John Faisandier on Mar 21, 2014 11:53:59 AM

A little snippet in the paper yesterday said Russell Crow had been excluded from a pub somewhere in England because he caused too much trouble. Russell caused difficulties once before when he threw a phone at the concierge in a New York hotel. At the time he said this is how we settle things where I come from (NZ). He has to have been misquoted, surely!

What can you do when people like Russell Crow nut-off and get upset. Sometimes there's not a lot you can do but hold your own dignity. It is worth acknowledging that you see they are upset. It can be helpful to apologise that they have been put out, or the service hasn't met their expectation. This is not accepting blame for what has happened. It is letting them know they are not alone with their feelings and distress.

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Topics: Angry, I'm OK You're OK, Physical Reactions, Difficult customers, Russell Crow

JetStar Saga Continues

Posted by John Faisandier on Mar 21, 2014 11:12:54 AM

The saga with JetStar, the new budget airline operating in New Zealand continues. Over the weekend a number of passengers were turned away from the check-in counter because they arrived less the 30 minutes before take-off. Some who were shut out said they arrived earlier but the queues were too slow.
JetStar want to set their rules very clearly. They want people to know that this 30 minute cut-off time is absolute. This is their right and it’s probably a good way to run a budget airline.

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Topics: customer service, Angry, Upset People, Upset Staff, Difficult customers, Jetstar

MP told off for being angry

Posted by John Faisandier on Mar 21, 2014 10:07:03 AM

What would Alan Duff say about this.

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Topics: Angry, Upset People, Aggressive, Alan Duff, John Carter, John Key, Perspective

Our legal right to be angry

Posted by John Faisandier on Mar 20, 2014 12:48:12 PM

Alan Duff reappeared in court in Taupo last week and was acquitted of charges against him. He allegedly shouted in the face of a policewoman who stopped him for speeding and then tried to handcuff him. Duff told 3News he was angry with the policewoman. “I was angry but my lawyer did point out that a senior judge said that the right to speak inoffensively is no right at all. In other words, we are allowed to show emotion and everything else”

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Topics: Angry, Blog, Upset People, Aggressive, Alan Duff, Law

Alan Duff does a rant

Posted by John Faisandier on Mar 20, 2014 12:29:45 PM

Alan Duff does a “rant”. He claims to the judge in the Taupo court that this is not aggressive. It is just a rant. The policewoman involved in issuing him the speeding ticket certainly thought he was aggressive.

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Topics: Angry, Upset People, Aggressive, Alan Duff, Law, Rant, Uncategorized

Managing Emotions

Learn to deal with difficult customers, colleagues, family and friends

You probably didn't learn these skills at home, and I bet school wasn't much help either. You can develop the skills and understanding to manage the everyday emotional communication challenges through the regular postings on this blog. 

You can:

  • Access free tips to help you
  • Change the way you interact with people
  • Learn to stay calm and in control
  • Build more satisfying relationship
  • Be more relaxed in yourself
  • Enjoy your work more

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