Drinking coffee can help you stay out of troubles! So, what has drinking coffee to do with avoiding conflicts? What are effective methods to sense invisible hostility in the office? Are you courageous enough to stay out of trouble? How is drinking coffee going to help you with all of these things?
Early signs of conflicts
Let’s take an example. You feel something has been cooking lately. Johny , your colleague that’s always smiling friendly has been treating you a bit distant. Johny is avoiding direct eye contact and any active conversations with you. This has been going on for a few days. In leaving the office by the end of the day he is of course telling everyone goodbye. Except and of course? You! These might be subtle signs of a starting conflict between Johnny and you. At least, if you continue to ignore these signs.
It’s time for action!
What I am about to tell you requires great courage and some high level social skills. It requires that you set through and take action up on these signs. However difficult, these signs will pay off. Get immediately into action as soon as you feel and observe these signs. Don’t get intimidated.
Show me the money Walter. What shall I do?
The thing you should do? Invite this colleague for coffee. People associate coffee with social interactions. Think for example on the countless coffee bars in the country. What does it trigger in you?
Take Johny to a separate room. Just outside the immediate radar of other colleagues. Sit down and address the following immediately:
“Dear Johnny, since I like you as a person and I treasure our work relationship I would like to ask you one important question. These days I observed that you are acting a bit cold and distant. I hope I might be wrong but I perceive as if it’s specifically towards me. Do you have any concerns or is something that I have recently said or done that is worrying or bothering you? Could this be the case?” And then stop!
Let’s clarify and break this magic down
Let’s analyse these effective and powerful sentences. I will elaborate a bit further in the above described approach.
- I asked you what the act of drinking coffee is triggering in you?
Coffee is considered in many countries as a moment of relaxation. By inviting Johny to drink coffee you create an atmosphere of relaxation to discuss a difficult situation. It will keep you both in the right mood.
- Speak in a seperate room
Avoid colleagues eavesdropping you. Create a situation where you can discuss everything in all openness in a discrete way and where there is an atmosphere of security to be honest to each other.
- Start to emphasize the value of your relationship
Make it clear to Johny that you treasure the importance of your relationship and that’s why you want to speak with him about a matter that has been worrying you. Make it clear why its so important to discuss things.
- Give feedback of only your observations
Give Johny of what you have seen. Don’t make the error to tell him what you think. You don’t want Johny to become defensive. Your aim is to convince him to listen to your concerns. A little example might help. For example, say: “Mostly when you leave the office you say goodbye. Yesterday when you left the office, this was not the case”. And stop! Keep it till an observation.
- Now tell Johny what this behaviour is doing with you
Be honest about this one by telling the emotion. Again, just don’t make the mistake by telling what you think. What does it trigger in you? Does it make you sad, does it fear you, disgust you or does it make you angry? Whatever it is, you will be surprised how it will create understanding by just being honest about your emotions. Speak out your emotions but don’t get emotional.
- Let’s get to the real deal now
This one requires true courage, ask Johny: “I would like to hear from you what exactly has been going on lately between us?”. Use this exact sentence to illustrate that you observes a deviation in his behaviour and also to emphasize that you are specifically interested in what has been going on between you and him.
- Now Johny will speak
This will give you the opportunity to genuinely really hear what has been going on. At least if you have been doing exactly the steps mentioned above. It’s not a guarantee of course. But most likely it will be the case.
Be understandable. Maybe Johny will tell you something as well about your behaviour or an action you have done. Yet, it can also be the case that he might tell you that there are other reasons beyond your imagination.
Maybe he has some private life concerns or maybe he is worried about something going on in his family. Whatever the reason might be. Stay patient and try not to judge.
Understand that you need to practice the above mentioned. Realize that it’s difficult. It’s difficult because it requires the experience with discussing difficult social interactions. It can be very confronting to the other person. By following these steps mentioned above you will most probably be successful.
Simply because it’s a step by step approach to a difficult situation. It first help you create a friendly atmosphere. Neither forget that by holding to a cup and by sipping at your coffee will as well create a subconscious sense of security.
People will treasure you for your honesty and courage. And remember: the effect of coffee is Powerful – just as the power of strong healthy relationships!