BIFF - Brief, Informative, Friendly, Firm
Lawyer, mediator, former counselor, and former kindergarten teacher Bill Eddy recommends that folks communicate as politely as possible post-divorce. Eddy uses the acronym BIFF to describe how to best communicate.
BLAMESPEAKAuthor Bill Eddy writes that blamespeak can be recognized through the following characteristics:
1. It’s emotionally intense and out of proportion to the issues.
2. It’s very personal: about your intelligence, sanity, memory, ethics, sex life, looks, ets.
3. It’s all your fault: blamespeakers feel no responsibility for the problem or solution.
4. It’s out of context: ignores good you’ve done and all of the bad the blamespeaker has done.
5. Its often shared with others to prove how blameworthy you are and how blameless the speaker is.
6. You have an intensely negative reaction to blamespeak, making you angry and fearful.
7. You feel compelled to respond to blamespeak with blamespeak of your own; it’s so difficult to step back and make a reasonable response or to decide to NOT respond in kind.
Eddy suggests a BIFF response. BRIEF INFORMATIVE FRIENDLY FIRMBrief
Responses should be short. One paragraph of 2-5 sentences. Avoid triggering defensiveness in the other person, and make them focus on problem solving info.
Don’t give too many words that allow them to react. The more you say the more likely a high conflict person is to react.
Start with something like “thank you for sharing your opinion on this subject,” or “I appreciate your concerns.”
Continue with “let me give you some information you may not have.”
End the conversation. Disengage from a potentially high conflict situation.
Sometimes, just give two clear choices for future action.
Res Ipsa Loquitur -- the thing speaks for itself
Sometimes, there is no need to respond at all, such as when it’s just the two of you, or if there is no real issue being discussed (the other party's opinion about your behavior), when you clearly will not change the other party's point of view or when you have already responded sufficiently on the same subject.
When to make a BIFF response? If, as and when other people are being influenced by the blamespeak.Goals:
To manage the relationship.
To reduce the relationship to a less intense level.
To end the relationship by phasing the person out of your life.
Our brains react in a variety of ways, including fast defensive mechanisms and logical problem-solving. The latter is the preferred reaction!
Goals and Ways of Viewing Issues: Stop Apologizing!In making responses, Eddy recommends avoiding admonishments, advice and apologies. If you apologize to someone who blames you for everything, you are just reinforcing their belief that it really is all your fault.
Other ways of seeing the issues:
Logical problem-solving includes:
Seeing a situation as a problem to solve
See necessity for a good analysis
See the problem as complex, involving bad behaviors
See self as open to improvement
Balance problems in the context of other issues
See compromise as a normal part of life
Manage fear and anger, and do not let them interfere with making good decisions
Fast defensive reacting:
All or nothing solutions
See the situation as extreme crises
See survival as requiring fast action, not analysis
See the problem as bad people
See self as all good
Deals with the problem in isolation from all other issues
Sees compromise as life-threatening
Fear and anger overwhelm the situation, and can only be relieved by reacting quickly and defensively
STAY FLEXIBLE AND LOGICAL!