A Gentle Answer

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Real Living Advantage

Dealing with difficult people has never been one of my favorite hobbies.  There are a few people, as strange as it may seem, who actually enjoy confrontation and dealing with the "devil."  I assure you I don't fit into that category.  I enjoy smooth sailing, easy transactions, peaceful buyers and sellers, happy agents, and satisfied customers and clients.  Problem is, life's not perfect and neither are people.  Almost every day there are new challenges.  In this market sellers are tired of the beating they're taking on their home prices.  Buyers are waiting for sellers to take their "last breath" hoping to buy at the lowest price possible, mortgage lenders are under pressure because of stricter lending regulations, and agents are panicking, because of less money coming in and more money going out.  With that being the case, it often results in short tempers, harsh words, arrogant attitudes, and the many other emotions that erupt during difficult situations and high pressured moments.

There's a principle that I have tried to follow for some time although it's not always easy.  It comes from the Book of Proverbs that says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger."  Sounds simple enough and should be easy, but we all know that the tongue is a fiery little member of the body and can get us into an amazing amount of trouble.  The old saying "don't let your battleship mouth overload you rowboat butt," carries a lot of truth.

So remember, the next time you're being bashed by one of your customers, clients, another agent, or a family member gone wild, a "soft or gentle answer turns away wrath."  When you're about to "pop off" stop, think about what you're going to say, take a deep breath and peacefully (if possible) diffuse the situation with a gentle answer.   Later when everything has calmed down you can say what needs to be said in a soft but solemn voice.


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Richard Shuman
The Only B.S. I Have is from the University of Massachusetts - Lake Mary, FL
Real Estate Broker - Orlando Area - Love Referrals

Sounds like a very easy solution! I usually find if you let them yell at you once, they will try again!


Dec 08, 2008 11:05 PM #1
Kenneth Cole
Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com... - Staten Island, NY
NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

Amen to that.  I once cut off a fellow motorist, because I did not see him, as he approached and was ready to chew me out, I turned my head toward him and said "I'm sorry".  End of confrontation.

Dec 08, 2008 11:07 PM #2
Janice Roosevelt
West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

Great reminder

Dec 08, 2008 11:08 PM #3
Bobbie Files
Success Real Estate - Taunton, MA
Realtor, Berkley, Greater Taunton Homes for Sale

Thank you for this very timely post!  I was in a situation yesterday in which an agent, who because of a previous conversation, KNEW my listing needed a 24 hour notice to show. But she insisted on calling me well over 8 times yesterday to get in that same day.  Knowing how fiery my mouth can be I had to NOT call her back so nothing really nasty would be said.  I will deal with it today in a much calmer state.

Dec 08, 2008 11:09 PM #4
Randy Parker
Real Living Advantage - Dalton, GA

You're right Ken, it'a amazing what a little humility will do.


Dec 08, 2008 11:09 PM #5
Charlie Ragonesi
AllMountainRealty.com - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros

you are 100 percent right. I think as we get a bit older that gets harder to do. Thanks for the post

Dec 08, 2008 11:14 PM #6
Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton
Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC - Hilton Head Island, SC


I totally agree and will try to remember this the next time someone rankles me.  It usually proves nothing to give a snarky answer back. 

Dec 08, 2008 11:20 PM #7
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Randy, great wisdom and a good reminder to be learned by all. Thanks.

Dec 08, 2008 11:20 PM #8
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Taking a deep breath and counting to ten... it has saved me many times from making a comment that I might otherwise have regretted. Sometimes it's better to let go and win that way than to come back with a response that will just aggravate the other person more.

Dec 08, 2008 11:50 PM #9
Mike Klijanowicz
Cummings & Co. Realtors - Perry Hall, MD
Associate Broker @ Cummings & Co. Realtors

Every client in this market seems to be difficult, at least the sellers, LOL.  However, you are absolutely right that we all need to THINK BEFORE WE SPEAK!  If what we say is not going to do any good, then don't say it.  Our job as real estate professionals is to be PROFESSIONAL.  We are not supposed to get our emotions involved and get all worked up over pedly little things, that is what our clients jobs are and we are there to difuse the situation...

Dec 08, 2008 11:51 PM #10
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

I am not a confrontational person so by nature I have always taken the "gentle" approach or response. Guess it works fine as I know no other way. Good reminder.

Dec 09, 2008 12:08 AM #11
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Randy, Great post and so true. We must be so careful to not let our mouths move before we put our brains into action.  There are many emotional people in this market, and rightfully so. 

Dec 09, 2008 10:42 PM #12
Ginny Lee
Americas Best Agents, Inc/Premiere Plus Realty, Inc - Naples, FL
CRS, Realtor, CDPE & ASP,Americas Best Agent,Naple

Hi Randy,

Great Post I usually bite my tongue and wait for at least 24 hours...and think of a way to be positive and turn the situation around.  I am a firm believer in positive thinking and you can't let the negative get you down!

Dec 10, 2008 07:35 AM #13
Al Webster

Right on brother.  Keep sharing your words of wisdom

Mar 04, 2009 11:44 AM #14
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