How to Respond to Hostile Messages from an Ex

How to Respond to Hostile Messages from an Ex

How to Respond to Hostile Messages from an Ex

Tired of dealing with digital explosions of hostility? Join the club. With the rise of electronic communication, it seems like everyone’s got a bone to pick and a keyboard to pick it with. But fear not! There’s a way to navigate these treacherous waters without getting sucked into the tempest. Enter the BIFF Response® – your ticket to sanity in a world of virtual battlegrounds.

The BIFF Response® was developed by lawyer and licensed social worker Bill Eddy and is the subject matter of multiple books on the topic that can be found at the High Conflict Institute’s website. You don’t have to read the book though to begin understanding how to engage with your high-conflict ex as you navigate your divorce or custody case. When you face conflict in communication, follow a few rules of engagement to navigate the situation safely.

First off, ask yourself: does this tirade really deserve a response? Most of the time, these fiery missives are just a release valve for someone’s pent-up frustration. They’re like a shaken soda can – let them vent, and they’ll fizzle out on their own. No need to add fuel to the fire by engaging in a war of words. But if this email is destined for the courtroom or the court of public opinion, then it might be time to whip out your verbal sword.

When crafting your response, remember the four pillars of BIFF: Be Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm. Keep it short and sweet – no need to write a novel dissecting every insult hurled your way. Stick to the facts, ma’am. Correct any inaccuracies with grace and poise. And whatever you do, don’t stoop to their level. Being friendly doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat, but a little kindness can go a long way in defusing the bomb.

Remember the power of brevity. Keeping it short and to the point minimizes the opportunity for a prolonged exchange of anger. By avoiding unnecessary dialogue, you signal your disinterest in perpetuating the conflict. Refrain from taking personal offense or retaliating with attacks on the other person’s character. Remember, you don’t owe anyone a defense of your beliefs to those who oppose them.

When addressing inaccuracies in hostile messages, focus solely on presenting the facts. Clarify misunderstandings without resorting to negative remarks, sarcasm, or threats. Personal attacks only serve to escalate conflicts, particularly with individuals exhibiting high conflict tendencies. Instead, maintain a friendly tone in your response. Writing with kindness increases the likelihood of a positive or neutral reaction from the other party. Ultimately, fostering friendliness can pave the way for conflict resolution and mutual understanding.

Stay firm in your convictions without inviting further debate. Lay down the law in a non-confrontational manner and then drop the mic. Confidence is key – if you sound like you know what you’re talking about, chances are they’ll think twice before hitting reply.

When faced with a barrage of accusations from your ex, don’t take the bait. Instead, calmly clarify the situation and leave it at that. No need to fan the flames when a gentle breeze will do. And if the drama spills over into the public arena? Keep it classy, keep it concise, and keep the door open for civilized discourse. Who knows, you might even convert a few haters along the way.

The BIFF Response® can be your shield against the slings and arrows of outrageous texts and emails. Use it wisely, and see how communication improves with your ex. And if The Smith Firm can assist you in navigating your divorce, we’re happy to help. Contact us today to get started.