6 Ways on Dealing With People Who Fear What They Don't Understand

Updated: 5 days ago

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It sucks when people react negatively to something they are unfamiliar with.

It sucks even more when they don't even bother listening to you or your ideas and/or opinions. You'll know how frustrating it'll be when you've already anticipate the outcome of the situation and yet, you're still going to talk to these people about it.

Well I am here today to help you deal with people who fear the things that they don't understand.

But first, there are 2 things you would need to know before getting into situations like these again. They are:

  • Identifying the type of communication the person prefers

  • How to properly communicate with these people based on their needs

Although it can very likely ease the tensions between you and the person you are talking to, it is not 100% guaranteed to work since we have to take into consideration their personality as a whole, if there is stress going on, and other different factors that can't be explained.

Let's get started.


An Introduction

I want to start things off with a story around the time when I transferred to a new school after community college. At the time, I had recently bought a onewheel to get around an extremely large school campus when it was still fairly new and unfamiliar with people in 2017 unlike today.

And even though I was able to get around campus in just a few minutes, there were people I've upset other than campus police.

For instance, I was getting off my onewheel in front of one of the libraries at my school when a librarian stopped me at the entrance:

Librarian: You can’t bring that in here.
Me: What?
Librarian: You can’t bring that [onewheel] in here. You gotta lock it up.
Me: Umm... Okay??

Now what did I do wrong here?

2 problems:

Well other than the fact that I should've stood my ground (but couldn't because I was still building my mindset so my confidence wasn't there yet), the first problem was I wasn't mirroring her words.

When you mirror someone's words, the perception of the person (or people) you are talking to gives them the impression that you understand them much like mirroring body language (except in situations where you don't want to escalate the conflict).

The thing you don't want to be doing is using different words that have a similar meaning. That will lead to misconceptions and have them subconsciously think, "No, you don't understand me because you can't grasp my viewpoint."

What I've just explained is a minor problem which leads to my second problem which I identify as the primary problem: miscommunication.

In the librarian's viewpoint, she was communicating in the form of actions while I operating with communicating in the form of logic which is not compatible with my brain.

At this point, you're most likely wondering or asking me what kind of jargon am I talking about. That is exactly what we'll dive into for the next section.


Identifying the Preference of Communication for Each Person

Dealing with people that react negatively to things they are unfamiliar with, considered as neophobia, is very frustrating for most of us.

I've seen Facebook posts back in the day where people shared their stories about how they had trouble bringing their onewheel into certain places such as an airport because it looked "dangerous," the battery might be a "bomb," etc.

Luckily, there is a system called the Process-Communication Model, or PCM for short, which you could use to identify the type of communication the person prefers to use.

There are 6 types of personalities and communication style that reside in all of us but we prefer only one since communicating using the other 5 can typically cause distress for us or other people.

Each of them have very distinct forms of personality you can easily identify that will show in their body language and personal possessions (also considered as a form of body language).

And when you combine this communication model along with being able interpret people's body language while mirroring it along people's words back at them, you can avoid further escalating the conflict and create a more sense of calmness instead:

"I understand how/why you think / feel / act / believe / react this way" is what you will be trying to communicate with people that behave negatively.


How to Properly Communicate With People Based on Their Needs

Unfortunately, I am unable to provide you specific guidance on how to properly communicate with people based on their psychological needs since I am not a certified professional (yet).

What I can do is provide you resources written by professionals to help guide you on miscommunication with different types of individuals. These are books I highly recommend:

  • Understand to Be Understood: By Using the Process Communication Model

  • This book is also written by Gérard Collignon but it's geared more towards trainers and coaches as a reference guide.

  • But what I like about this book is that it contains practical example problems used for PCM that you can try answering yourself though it's mostly like the previous book above except it's more out of order.

If you would like more practice, I highly suggest seeking a coach or trainer for this.

Disclaimer: The material I mentioned on PCM is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist. Please seek a certified PCM trainer or coach if you would like to seek further guidance.


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