8 Tips For Living With An Inflexible Person

Last updated by Katie M.

Excessive rigor, control, the need to be right all the time… it’s suffocating and exhausting to live with an inflexible person! They’re great believers in “you must”, “I have to”, “do this”, etc. Basically, the inflexible individual wants to control everything. However, you shouldn’t forget that this behavior is linked to suffering and great anxiety. So, how can you negotiate with an inflexible person to live more serenely? Here are 8 tips to bear in mind so that it goes more smoothly.

8 Tips For Living With An Inflexible Person

8 tips for negotiating with an inflexible person

1. Communicate

This is the key to any relationship (family, romantic, professional), as is active listening. You need to be able to positively welcome differences in ideas, opinions and ways of doing things. Of course, the inflexible individual remains closed-minded and strict, but you need to pay attention to what the other one thinks and feels. This also enables you to express your emotions and ideas calmly, without entering into conflict.

➜ It’s easier to deny a reproach than an emotion experienced by others, which is why it’s necessary to communicate them to the inflexible person.

>>> To learn more about how to let go and live freely

2. Don’t be confrontational

It’s useless and ineffective to confront an inflexible individual. If they need so many frameworks and rules, it’s because they’re anxious people. They’re therefore not in control of their rigidity, which is why it’s better to bring things in gently. Non-violent communication helps a lot in this sense.

💡 Step by step, it’s possible to relax the inflexible person and to soften the dictated rules. Patience and empathy are needed to show understanding for the other person.

3. Determine your priorities

In order to live more serenely and also reassure the inflexible person, it’s important to determine with them what is a priority. Indeed, establishing what is necessary for them will help you to calm them down, but also highlight their anxieties. On our side, we’ll know what is particularly sensitive for the other person, and we’ll pay attention to it. It’s a behavior that will be noted, which will relax the inflexible person for other points.

4. Use “we”

The killer “you” is the best way to increase tension! Indeed, it puts the other person in opposition to our way of doing things and our desires. To include the other person in a process, a reflection, an action, you need to use “we”. For example:

  • ❌ “You always do it like that!”
  • ✅ “What if we did it like this?”

The 'we' erases the feeling of being in opposition, so it also helps to avoid confrontation with the inflexible individual.

5. Show love and humor

You live with or love an inflexible person, and they’re also loving, too. This is the precious key to softening their rigidity. Showing humor and love is essential for building a healthy and solid relationship. It also facilitates communication because there is an established trust.

⚠️ Be careful, however, not to hurt the feelings of the inflexible individual. Under the guise of humor, you can’t get everything across, and it’s vital you take care not to hurt others.

6. Suggest activities

Inflexibility is accentuated by daily life. So to get a change of air, it may be interesting to suggest activities that relax the other person. You shouldn’t forget that rigidity is a defense mechanism for obsessive personalities. So you should recommend ideas of things to do while asking for the other person’s opinion.

⌚ With an inflexible individual, it’s best not to leave things to the last minute. Spontaneity is something that’s difficult for them to master, but it’s perfectly fine to plan activities in advance.

7. Define your personal space

Living with an inflexible person isn’t easy, whether it’s with your partner, your parents, a friend, etc. So in order to live together as best as possible, you need to define your personal space. Explain to the other person that they shouldn’t come into this space. It allows you to have a zone where you feel freer, without the other person controlling you. It may be a bedroom, a room or even an area like your office. By doing this, you avoid conflicts and turning your anger into violence.

8. Protect yourself

Unfortunately, sometimes, no matter how much effort you make, it doesn’t work. The other person is unable to break free of their rigidity or become more flexible. If this behavior becomes toxic for you, you need to take a step back to protect yourself psychologically. Indeed, a person who cannot control their anxieties and is unable to manage their emotions can become unhealthy for you. In this case, you need to distance yourself by explaining your reasons.

➜ You can’t save everyone, even if you love the person. They need to be the one to make the decision to seek help.

Editor’s note: Avoid confrontation

“That’s the way it is”, “you need to…”, “you have to…”, “don’t do that…” Living or working with an inflexible person isn’t always easy. Just remember that getting into a confrontation won’t help, quite the contrary. Answer calmly, follow these 8 tips, and you’ll come to an agreement. And by the way, you don’t live with an inflexible person by chance? What attracted you to them? An unconscious need to be led? If your relationship is a problem for you, don’t hesitate to contact one of our psychologists to take stock of the situation.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!

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