When they won’t talk…

They won’t talk. We keep going in circles…I can’t do anything. conflict management, mediation, they won't talk

As a mediator, I’m often asked ” But what can I do if they won’t talk to me? ”

They feel stuck because the other people involved don’t want to talk. It’s frustrating and aggravating. And if you really believe that you can’t do anything, the situation is likely to get worse. Click here to watch a brief summary of this post (less than a minute).

Why not just leave it?

First, if it is an important issue, you want it resolved. The uncertainty and aggravation might make you ill, distracted or irritable. It will certainly make you even more annoyed with the others. Sometimes, it might be best to do that…here are some tips on when to speak up and when to stay silent

Secondly, even if you don’t think your annoyance is showing, it will leak out in sarcasm, sabotage, and snide comments–or will eat at you from the inside.

Finally, by saying you cannot do anything, you are giving control to others and consigning yourself to the role of victim. Andy Hunt has a marvellous story about a man walks into a bar with an arrow sticking into him. The man refuses all help and assistance from anyone. He feels that the person who inflicted the injury should fix it. Read the full story here.

Why suffer when you don’t have to?

What do you want?

Before you try and resolve the situation, decide what it is you want and need.

Do the other people even need to be involved?

How else could you solve the problem?

Is there another way to get what you want without involving them?

How important is this issue to you?

Working out what you really need helps you assess the next steps.

It may be that you find another way of meeting your needs or solving the problem

Or you might decide that it isn’t that big a deal, and you’d rather just move on.

Even if you realise you do need their help, you will have worked out what is important to you, and maybe what you are willing to invest to put it right.

They won’t talk–what you could try

So it’s important, and you need them to talk to you to resolve it…

If they aren’t taking your calls, then you need outside help–unless you know what would make them change their minds…

Do you know why they won’t talk?

Is there anything you could do to make them more likely to listen?

Perhaps you feel hurt and that they should apologise before you do anything…if so, this might help

Can you try a different approach?

Think of things from their angle. Think about when you approached them before and they didn’t want to talk.  Sometimes it’s just the wrong place or time. Sometimes we blurt out what we want without thinking how it might sound. Rehearse what you might say, think about the other person and what you know about what they like and dislike. I help people rephrase things so that others are more likely to listen..Some tips here on starting that awkward conversation

Can someone else help?

They may not talk to you, but they might talk to someone else. Being able to get things off your chest to someone who listens is appealing to most people. As a mediator and conflict coach, I don’t take sides. I help people understand each other’s needs and learn how to express their own in ways that are easier for others to listen to.

I’m always happy to have a confidential complimentary chat to work out the best way forward. Email me help@nancyradford.com or phone 07980 920 078