Calming Upset People with an EAR Statement? (Part 1 of 4)

Let’s face it, buying and selling a home is usually an emotional experience. Depending on the reason for buying or selling and in today’s competitive climate, emotions can become amplified and even leave some people feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.

A large part of my job is to help navigate those emotions and keep the process moving along as smoothly as possible for a successful outcome. Sometimes, the only thing it takes is a little Empathy, Attention & Respect. Here’s a great read from one of my favorite resources on connecting with and communicating better during those high stress moments. 

As always, I hope you find value in it, this is part 1 of 4 

Everyone gets upset some of the time. High conflict people get upset a lot of the time. A simple technique called an “EAR Statement” can help you calm others down. 

This is especially helpful if you are in a close relationship or a position of authority. High conflict people (HCP) tend to emotionally attack those closest to them and those in authority, especially when they are frustrated and can’t manage their own emotions. 

High conflict people (HCPs) have a pattern of high-conflict behavior that increases conflict rather than reducing or resolving it. This pattern usually happens over and over again in many different situations with many different people. The issue that seems in conflict at the time is not what is increasing the conflict. The “issue” is the high-conflict personality and how the person approaches problem-solving. With HCPs, the pattern of behavior includes a lot of:

  • Blaming others
  • All-or-nothing thinking 
  • Unmanaged emotions
  • Extreme behaviors

The intensity of their uncontrolled emotions can really catch you off-guard. But if you practice making EAR Statements you can connect with upset people and usually help them calm down. 


EAR stands for Empathy, Attention and Respect. It is the opposite of what you feel like giving someone when he or she is upset and verbally attacking YOU! Yet you will be amazed at how effective this is when you do it right. 

An EAR Statement connects with the person’s experience, with their feelings. For example, let’s say that someone verbally attacks you for not returning a phone call as quickly as he or she would have liked. “You don’t respect me! You don’t care how long I have to wait to deal with this problem! You’re not doing your job!” Rather than defending yourself, give the person an EAR Statement, such as: “Wow, I can hear how upset you are. Tell me what’s going on. I share your concerns about this problem and respect your efforts to solve it.” 

This statement included: 

EMPATHY: “I can hear how upset you are.” 

ATTENTION: “Tell me what’s going on.” 

RESPECT: “I respect your efforts.”

© 2011 William A. Eddy, LCSW Esq. High Conflict Institute.

Katina Farrell, CDRE is an experienced Realtor & Managing Broker who specializes in residential real estate transactions, with expertise as a trained Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert and a Certified Negotiation Expert. To schedule a complimentary chat and discover more ways Katina can help you, call: 720-295-8848 or email: [email protected]

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