Do you have trouble communicating with your ex-parter?

Have you ever had a hostile exchange with your ex-partner? Maybe in emails, texts, on Facebook, or in-person. How do you react? Do you ignore them? React in the same hostile tone? Or can you change the course if the interaction based on your response? There is a better’s called A BIFF Response by Bill Eddy.

BIFF is a way to respond that usually puts a stop to the hostilities while leaving you feeling good about yourself.

Here are the four parts of a BIFF response:

Brief: Keep it short, typically a paragraph. This is even when the comment you’re responding to goes on and on for many paragraphs or pages. This leaves much less for the other person to react to and is often sufficient to get your main point across.

Informative: Give some straight information, rather than emotions, opinions, defenses or arguments. You don’t need to defend yourself when another person is being hostile. It’s not about you. It’s about their inability to manage their emotions and responses. Just stay focused on providing relevant information.

Friendly: This may seem hard to do when you’re being attacked in writing or verbally. But this avoids feeding the hostilities and may even calm an upset person. Just a friendly greeting and closing; nothing too involved. This helps keep the hostilities from escalating. It also shows that you have good self-restraint.

Firm: This means that you end the conversation rather than feeding the hostilities. It doesn’t mean harsh. Just avoid anything that opens the door to more hostile comments back. Say something that calmly ends the conversation. Sometimes, you will need a response from the other person, so just ask a question seeking a Yes or No answer. Then end on a friendly note.

We encourage you to try BIFF and see if it changes the course of communication with your ex-partner.

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