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Avoid time-consuming conversations: create a friendly but determined distance

There are conversations that you just don't have time for at the moment. How do you make that friendly, but definitely clear to potential interlocutors?

Time management - but please be polite?

It always opens up Best of HR – Berufebilder.de® on the subject of time management. An important factor here is not to let other people steal your time. That sounds good to many people at first, but it also implies that you keep distancing yourself from others, saying “no” and possibly even being unfriendly and impolite, depending on your point of view. That is why the topic of saying “no” is a constant source of controversial discussion. A reader wrote to us:

“I find that Article really failed. There are really friendlier and more polite ways to deal with pushy people. You always meet twice in life. Often in different roles ... "

Correctly say “no”

In fact, it is just a question of his point of view, because in my opinion there are a number of ways not to let your time be stolen - for example, by saying “no” in a friendly but firm manner. Or by ending conversations that you don't have time for right from the start in a friendly, but decidedly manner, with polite little signals. The whole thing also has a psychological component and a biological background, as Manuel J. Smith in his book “Say No Without Scruples. The new method for increasing self-confidence and self-assertion ”, published in 2011 by the Munich publishing group explains:

As a student I attended the lectures of a young lecturer for
Psychology called Joe, whose style of speaking was pronounced
was frank, unvarnished and headstrong. He left the student
none of their naive ideas about the science of psychology. He declined to give the expected explanations about eerily fascinating deviations or about the normal course of the
Thinking processes, behavior and motivation. Instead of
more complicated theories as to why we behave in a certain way
show he chose an easier route. He contented himself with that
describe how a process takes place psychologically, went with it
based on very simple assumptions and advised us to leave it at that. Because of his experiences, he was too
I have come to believe that 95 percent of what is offered for sale as scientifically sound psychological theory is purer
Bullshit, and that it would be a long time before we knew enough about our own functions to use most of our
To be able to explain perceptions exhaustively.
The veracity of Joe's argument is as compelling today as it was twenty years ago - and I fully agree with him. Lengthy technical or mystical explanations are often highly interesting or even of literary value, but they are not all
superfluous, but complicate the subject without our understanding
to expand an iota. About what psychology is actually about
It is more important to know what the tools offer to be able to use them
of it is useful than knowing why it is useful. I think
pointless pondering why a patient is having trouble; this can degenerate into academic masturbation and may not result in satisfaction even after years of therapy
producing result. It can even be harmful. It is far more useful to focus on what the patient is going to do to change their behavior than to worry about why they are doing one
Misconduct Shows Joe took away any illusion that psychologists are the new, omniscient high priests of human behavior. So he said in one
Lecture: “I hate students who ask me questions that I answer
knows no answer. ”As you can imagine, Joe behaved in the
Personal life is not much different, and although he is an expert on matters of
human behavior, it too had its problems with the environment.
Over the years I got to know Joe better and better, both as a friend and as a colleague, and found that he had the same problems with other people as I did, and roughly the same
Extent. I made the same observation with other psychologists
and psychiatrists. The doctorate and the knowledge acquired set us free
not from having the same problems as our family members, neighbors, friends or even our patients, regardless of occupation and schooling.
When our spouse or lover is unhappy about something
it can make us feel guilty without saying a word
to say. A look, a door that was closed a little too loudly or the one in an icy one
Tone-made request to switch to another television program are fully sufficient. Joe once complained to me: “I haven't
the faintest idea how they do it or why they react that way
but somehow I always feel guilty, even if there isn't any
Reason. "
But it's not just the spouses that pose problems.
When parents or in-laws want to achieve something, they understand
it is excellent to frighten their grown sons and daughters
Reduce children. We have all experienced how we get knotted inside when mother suddenly falls silent on the phone, when
the mother-in-law or the father-in-law give us a disapproving one
Throws a glance when mother or father make a lot of telling remarks, such as: “You seem to be very busy, we don't get to see you at all” or: “Just around the corner from
a nice apartment has become available for us. Come tomorrow
Evening, then we can look at them together. "
As if family conflicts of this and other kind are not enough,
in order to make ourselves insecure, we must also deal with the problems
deal that outsiders bring to us. An example: You know very well that the auto mechanic did a bad job,
but the workshop manager explains to you with great expertise and in great detail why the radiator is still overheating, even though
You have just paid over a hundred marks for the repairs. It gives you the feeling that you don't understand anything about cars and
also not able to deal with it properly, nevertheless it gnaws in you
Suspicion that you have been cheated. Our friends are also causing problems. When a friend suggests that you do something you don't feel like doing, you almost automatically make excuses. You have to lie so that your friend is not offended,
but at the same time you feel guilty for lying to him.
Every day brings new conflicts. Many people indulge the unrealistic belief that it is unhealthy or unnatural to be
Has to live with problems day in, day out. But this is wrong. The living
poses problems for each of us and that is perfectly normal. It is coming
however, often before someone who believes a normal person has no problems concludes that the lifestyle we are all trapped in is not worth the effort. Most of my patients
developed this negative belief. However, it is not a consequence of the fact that one has problems, but rather arises from the
Feeling that one is unable to cope with these problems and those
People who raise them to cope.
Although I have such feelings myself when I deal with a problem correctly
tackled, my whole experience as a psychologist resists the idea that humans are a genetically outdated species,
who should have lived in an earlier age than anything
was even easier. What nonsense! I don't accept us
Losers are those who do not have a happy everyday life and the problems
cannot adequately cope with that in our age of
Industrialization, urbanization, hygiene and space travel result. on
Based on my professional experience and the naturalistic observation of the thousands of people I have met in my life, I come to a much more reasonable and realistic one
Conclusion: Not only is the expectation that life will pose problems normal, but also the expectation that every human being
is able to cope with these problems satisfactorily.
Without the innate ability to deal with all kinds of problems, the human species would be extinct.
In contrast to the prophecies of doom some prophets of the end of the world
we humans are the most successful, adaptable, intelligent and toughest biological organisms that nature has ever created. If the evidence and general conclusions of anthropologists, zoologists, and other scientists are correct, our earth has had a long evolutionary struggle eons ago
took place in which the genetic family of our human and
animal ancestors fought for survival with other species, and
although under the harsh conditions created by the ecological forces
were dictated by nature. Our ancestors didn't have this fight
only survived, but were even strengthened by him. We survived and prevailed while other species became extinct or almost extinct
died out because we are both physiologically and psychologically
are designed to survive in all conditions. Of the
Man is the product of generations of animals who developed the ability to deal with the problems that have had a hard time and the most severe
Living conditions imposed on them to cope. With the help of this
Ability beyond which no other form of life has such a degree
we have not only conquered our earth, our surroundings,
but have now started work, this our world and the
other species that live on it for future generations.
Now what is this inherited problem-solving ability that drives the
Brought about success for the human species? What do we have with
common to extinct animal species and what properties are
reserved only for humans? An examination of the conflict behavior of other species, especially vertebrates, shows that the two parties involved fight and the weaker one ultimately takes flight. Both fight and flight are effective for animals
Means in dealing with one another. These forms of conflict resolution
seem to be almost automatic, preprogrammed reactions with a high survival value in lower animal species. We humans too
fight with each other and flee from each other, sometimes forced,
sometimes of free will; occasionally we do it openly, but much more often we hide our reactions.
However, what sets us apart most from the other species,
are two new skills that we have acquired in the course of our development: language skills and problem-solving skills. We can communicate with each other and with the
Working together to resolve conflicts and problems. this
are the two most important survival skills that the
Human is different from the other species.

9 tips to distance yourself from other people in a friendly manner

But what can we infer from this for practical everyday life when dealing with potentially annoying fellow human beings? If you want to learn to say “no” more consistently, you should simply take the following 9 tips to heart:

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  1. Direct the conversation in the right direction from the start: Do you want to be polite but not talk a lot? Never ask "How are you?" (this is an invitation to a more confidential conversation) but: “What can I do for you?”
  2. Look at the clock. Take a short break in conversation to say with regret: "Oh, it's already so late!"
  3. Switch to the past tense, accompanied by a compliment: "It was very nice to have talked to you."
  4. References to the future: “We should expand this discussion elsewhere” or “An interesting thought that we should pursue when the opportunity arises.”
  5. References to dates: "Unfortunately I have to say goodbye now." Add: "But it was very interesting to talk to you again."
  6. Make it clear that you will continue to think of the person you are speaking to in the future: "I'll email you the necessary information!" Of course, it is important to keep the promise.
  7. A colleague for whom you don't have time now is heading for your office? Demonstrate lack of time: Pretend - preferably with documents under your arm - as if you just wanted to leave the office.
  8. Especially if you don't know people, misunderstandings can easily arise because you accidentally cut sore points - and these can lead to time-consuming discussions. For example, you rave about the walks with your dog. Then the colleague says: “Oh, you are one of these dog owners too? I was recently bitten by a dog. " Now a sure instinct is required so that the harmless conversation does not become a fundamental discussion.
  9. So if you notice that you have made a mistake: Say something soothing, for example: "That always depends on how such a dog is brought up." Then do not insist on your position, but switch to another, positive topic.

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2 responses to "Avoid time-consuming conversations: create a friendly, but determined distance"

  1. Erik says:

    Uff. To hear from a professional that you should pretend to avoid conversations and with documents under your arm to pretend you have to leave the office is really more than absurd. Many people do not know how to correctly interpret body language or “symbols” such as looking at the clock and perceive these as impolite.
    As a self-employed person for many years, I know every reason why employees and colleagues want to "steal" your time. They do this unconsciously, because not everyone knows how much others have on their mind.
    My only tip is to be honest: no time for visitors to the office who want to chat over the weekend? Close the door, note on the door “I'm really absorbed in concentrated work right now. Please come back later when my input can wait a little longer. Thank you “- done. Nobody will notice whether you are actually working or surfing the internet during that time.

    Already talked about but still a lot on the list? "Please excuse my direct manner, but I still have a lot to do if I want to finish work on time and I have to say goodbye now. If you like, can we talk later in the canteen? "

    Anyone who feels offended by people who still have work to do at work because they don't want to chat with you has other worries than just such. Anyone who is receptive to it and doesn't know how to get rid of something like this should reconsider their priorities.

    Honesty would last the longest, what others make of it shouldn't be your problem.

    • Simone Janson says:

      Hello Erik, there are different views, but sometimes there is not enough time for long explanations, sometimes these are simply not possible because the other person would not understand them.

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