Author Cynthia Tobias humorously says that every strong-willed person lives according to the same motto: “I’m not bossy. I just know what you need to do.”
She didn’t always consider it a joke. In fact, it used to cause her trouble. Like an incident that occurred while she was working in law enforcement. She was working alone and pulled a guy over running a red light. Before she got to his door, he had rolled down his window and was yelling at her, “You can’t give me a ticket. You’re just a girl.”
One thing you don’t do to a strong-willed person is tell them what they will or won’t do.
So, she said, “You’re right. I’m not going to give you a ticket. I’m going to give you three.” Needless to say, the situation escalated into a physical altercation that required her to call backup. The man ended up in handcuffs and in jail.
Later, she sat in her chief’s office. He said, “Whose fault was this?”
She said, “The guy who threw a punch at me.”
He said, “No, it’s your fault. You let him bait you, and you lost control of the situation.”
Cynthia not only recognized her mistake in that moment, but she also began to understand how better to interact with a strong-willed loved one.
On our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Getting Along with Strong-Willed People,” we’re sharing a fascinating presentation that Cynthia gave to our staff a few months ago in which she shared three ideas for turning conflict into cooperation:
- Tone of voice: Strong-willed people don’t have a problem with authority. They have a problem with how people communicate their authority.
- Turn orders into questions: Avoid saying, “Calm down!” Instead ask, “Can I help you in any way?” Avoid saying, “Have that done by 5:00.” Instead say, “Can I count on you having that done by 5:00?”
- Get to the bottom line: Three very important questions you need to ask yourself.
- “What’s the point?”
- “Are there other ways to get there?”
- “Is this actually worth sacrificing the relationship?”
Cynthia has been a guest on over a dozen Focus on the Family broadcasts. You can hear this recorded talk on your local radio station, online, on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or take us with you on our free phone app.
A CD of this presentation with extra content is available for a gift of any amount. For more information, check here.