So far in this series we have looked at Living With a Prickly Person, and What Sets the Prickly Person Off? Now that you know what they are like, and are aware of the triggers that set them off, let’s look at how to respond to a prickly person.
1. Respond with quiet words.
“A soft answer turneth away wrath.” Proverbs 15:1
It’s normal to want to react to the prickly person and their actions or words, and the normal fleshly response is often one of anger! However, we should respond in the Spirit. That means controlling our own anger, and responding with a soft voice.
2. Speak kind, encouraging words.
Show sympathy, and let them know you are sorry that they are frustrated or upset. Often, just knowing that someone cares or understands helps to diffuse the situation, and calm the snarling person down.
3. Give them a hug.
Sometimes just pulling that person into your arms, hugging them, and patting their back lets them know that you care. Sometimes no words are even needed.
4. Let them talk or rant.
Just like babies need to cry sometimes for no apparent reason, the prickly person often needs to just vent and rant. Sometimes they just need someone to listen, and then they feel better.
Let them know that you really heard them by responding with words that show you understand the emotions they are feeling. For example, “So you are feeling really hurt right now, aren’t you? I’m sorry for your hurt.”
5. See if there is anything you can do to help.
If they are feeling stressed and overwhelmed about a situation, see if there is something that you can do to lighten their load, or help them out. Some people have a temperament that causes them to worry and stress easily when they have a lot going on, or they are going to be facing a new situation. Help them know how to prepare if you can, and help relieve some of that stress for them.
I sincerely believe that God brings each different personality type into our families for a reason. One reason may be to keep us depending on Him; another may be to help us grow in areas of character through that difficult relationship.
When you are struggling with the prickly person, stop and ask God to help you to not only respond the right way, but also to show you what He has for you to learn through the difficult relationship or situation.