BIFF Response Method

ANGRY EMAILS?  HOSTILE TEXTS?  NASTY LETTERS? 

How can you deal with someone's frequent outbursts, 
especially when you are the target…again?
 

 
 

They attack verbally, by email and by text and they cause havoc on social media sites. They never seem happy and they don’t get the facts straight. They file lawsuits and make complaints against co-workers, neighbors, friends and family. They cost a lot of time, energy and money.

Worse, High Conflict People try to convince everyone that it’s all YOUR fault!

If you’re dealing with a situation like this, then you’ve come to the right place for help.

The BIFF Response method will help you respond to hostile emails, texts and other communications and make you feel good doing it!

Most people have a hard time responding to personal attacks in emails, texts and other communication because it puts them in "react" mode instead of "respond" mode.  The most important thing to remember is: it’s not about you!  BIFF stands for Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm and can be used by anyone, in any situation but it does take practice. Learn how to write (or speak) using the BIFF Response method to help bring an angry exchange to a quick conclusion, without losing it yourself.

Get personalized, live help dealing with manipulative, toxic and plain old difficult people


Get the BIFF book

We live in an age of rapid change and instant communication and in a culture of blame and disrespect, so managing your responses to high-conflict people is imperative. BIFF was designed to protect you and your reputation by responding quickly and civilly to people who treat you rudely – while being reasonable in return. 

A BIFF response can be applied in any communication – on the Internet, in email or in person. It can be used at work, earning you respect and success. It can help you get along with difficult family members, friends, neighbors and others in your life. This little book gives over 20 examples of BIFF responses, plus additional tips to help you deal with high-conflict people anywhere. The second edition includes a new chapter on coaching others to make BIFF Responses.  Don’t react or defend –just give a BIFF Response. You’ll be respected for it – and feel good too!  Take A Peek


Video Training

We have two video training courses. They are available as a DVD or as an online course. 

 

How to Write a BIFF Response

Sick and tired of hostile emails? Personal attacks? Social media meltdowns? This 20-minute video teaches a simple, but powerful method of writing responses that are Brief, Informative, Friendly and Firm. These are called “BIFF Responses” and make YOU look good! It takes practice, but almost anyone can do it. Learn how to deal with drama queens on Facebook, harassing co-workers, difficult family members and more. 

Coaching for BIFF Responses

A 50-minute video that teaches a 10-question model for coaching other people how to write BIFF responses. This training helps you improve your BIFF skills and your coaching skills and includes examples of coaching everyday people to use the BIFF Response Method. It’s not as easy as it looks! For anyone working with people: lawyers, counselors, teachers, managers, healthcare workers, administrators, clergy, government officials – or anyone! 


Personal Coaching for the BIFF Response Method

Your ex sends an endless stream of hostile texts or emails

Your boss’ attitude has you considering a career change

That one student is an irritation to everyone in the class

You have a client or colleague who is constantly upset

Someone just blasted you on Facebook…again

Your brother makes you nuts on a daily basis

Your best friend likes you one day then suddenly blows up

Sound familiar? What’s going on? Why can’t he/she just STOP IT, already? Why do you get blamed for everything wrong in his/her life? You’ve tried reasoning with the person, but he/she just gets angrier. How can you stop being frustrated with this situation, time and time again?

We can help! Biff Response coaching teaches you how to deal with personal attacks; especially in today’s world of texts, IM’s, hostile email and web postings, and it works for any type of communication, especially written confrontations. Don’t react or defend – learn how to give a BIFF Response instead. You’ll be respected for it – and feel good too. 

Coaching is available in all locations by phone, email and/or Skype.


Training in the BIFF Response Method


Are you in a group or other organization dealing with isolated or ongoing issues with a High Conflict Person(s)? Do you want to learn how to get better results with difficult customers and clients? Want to give your staff a fresh look at handling workplace disputes? Could your students use a lesson in peer communications? Are you interested in being able to train others in writing/coaching BIFF Responses? 

BIFF trainings are designed to help your organization cut down on lost time, energy and revenue by learning a simple, yet powerful, method to more effectively manage disputes with the most difficult people. Trainings are available in-person or by Skype. Contact us to discuss your organization’s needs, for information on becoming authorized to teach others, and for pricing information. 


The BIFF Response Method In Educational Settings

Excerpted from BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Emails and Social Media Meltdowns

A Teacher Example

Connie is a teacher. One day she was talking with a group of students, and said that George Washington never really cut down a cherry tree. She said this was just an example to demonstrate the idea of how honest he was.

The next day, one of the parents confronted Connie, yelled at her and said that the she had traumatized her child. “Someone” then sent an email to the local radio station with the teacher’s name and place of work stating how awful she was and that the Connie had said to the parent “you are lying to your child”. This email was read on the morning show and the DJs had a good laugh at Connie’s expense. Connie was very upset and felt that her reputation was tarnished and that the school was also hurt.

Should she respond? To Whom? To the parent, the school or the DJs? What should she say?

What would you do?

We live in a culture where more and more communication is delivered through text, emails, discussion forums and social media sites. It’s very easy to type up emotions and press “send” when responding to a hostile communication (or writing one). The educational arena is a place where aggressive communications can abound, but we believe it’s also one of the best places to teach new methods of responding when a High-Conflict Person attacks.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a letter to the faculty head saying what a horrible teacher you are?

Maybe you are a student whose teacher posted on the web portal that you are lazy, and your parents read it.

Stuck on a group project with someone who does no work but sends texts around saying it’s your fault?

Do you dread the next PTA or School Board meeting because you know Mr. X will follow up with another round of emails spreading blame like fertilizer?

Have you ever received an email from your kid’s teacher with “suggestions” about your parenting?

Does your school’s staff need help responding to parental complaints?

Maybe your student body could use help dealing with student/student drama that’s getting disruptive.

These are just a few of the situations where you might find a High-Conflict Person, or be an HCP’s target of blame. Chances are, it’s happened before, and it will happen again. Do you know how to respond?


The BIFF Response Method In Professional Settings

Excerpted from BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Emails and Social Media Meltdowns

A Client-Attorney Example

For many years, divorce mediation has been a growing alternative to going to court to get divorced. One experienced mediator received the following email from an unhappy client:

Dear Sir:

You met with us on Sept. 9th for our divorce mediation and we scheduled another meeting for Sept. 23rd. We are now cancelling that meeting, because both my wife and I (and my attorney) believe that you did not handle our mediation properly. We accomplished nothing in our first meeting. I paid for the mediation and I would like my money back. Please respond promptly. We have found another mediator who does it correctly.

            Sincerely, Disgruntled Client

The mediator was surprised. He’d never received such a letter before. He recalled that this was a client who came late, took calls on his cell phone and made several blaming comments toward his wife. The mediator was tempted to say this in a reply. Should he? How would you handle it?

Complaints happen and most of them can be handled with integrity and reasonableness. However, more and more often your client, customer or your paid professional might be a High-Conflict Person. HCP’s are expert at blaming others for their problems and in the professional world, they frequently do it in writing. They’ll send copies to state agencies, department heads and anyone else they think they can get on their side as a negative advocate.

Your client just said: “You don’t know what you are talking about! I don’t see how you ever got to be a therapist / doctor / lawyer / consultant.”

If you get a response at all, your attorney’s letters are rude and antagonistic, and ignore how you’d like the case to be handled.

Client X just blasted you in an email and he sent it to the State Review Board demanding your license be revoked.

You get caught up in a never-ending stream of emails with a certain client who never listens to your advice and gets irate when you bill for your time.

You have a client in a nasty divorce and he/she is being bombarded with hateful texts from the ex that exhaust both of you.

A colleague just tipped you off to a scathing online “review” of your services posted by an anonymous former client.

Your consultant made a costly mistake and you just got her email making excuses and blaming you for it.


The BIFF Response Method In The Workplace

Excerpted from BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Emails and Social Media Meltdowns

An Employee-Manager Example

Lea worked at her company for two years before a new supervisor, Cynthia, took over. There were immediate problems for the whole staff with Cynthia, but she particularly bullied Lea. One day Lea was out sick with some type of stomach flu and her daughter also stayed home with the same problem.

When she returned, she received the following email from Cynthia: “Well, Princess Lea, I hope you’re proud of yourself for taking off on the day the rest of us had the most work to do all year. We had to get that presentation prepared and you knew it! I will expect to see a note from the doctor first thing tomorrow morning to confirm that you were sick! You think you’re so special sometimes and this is not the time or the place to stop pulling your weight in the office. If this happens again, there will be certain consequences. Perhaps someone else would be better in your position.”

Lea was really upset and didn’t know how to respond. Do you?

Businesses depend on quick communications internally and with customers and clients- email, texts, intranets, etc. In the perfect world, every email is efficient and to the point. In reality, workplaces are made of diverse people with different temperaments – from calm and collected to High-Conflict People – all of whom have varying communication skills. Toss in a few disruptive clients, managers or employees, and the probability of losing sales and productivity to low morale and/or workplace tension is high.

Have you ever received an angry email from your customer, blaming you personally for their dissatisfaction and threatening to sue?
Maybe you are manager who dreads reading the daily complaints in your inbox from Employee X.
Do those written reviews from your High-Conflict supervisor just make you want to quit?
Having trouble collaborating on a project with that certain person who never seems to actually work, and blames others for it in emails to the boss?
Perhaps you have a client who sends you countless antagonistic emails and consumes far more time than you can give to any one client.
Are you frustrated with Mary’s and Jane’s regular rounds of confrontational emails to each other, all of which get copied to you?
These are just a few of the situations where you might find a High-Conflict Person, or be an HCP’s target of blame.

—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and Leading at a Higher Level


The BIFF Response Method For Family, Relationships and Everyday Situations

Excerpted from BIFF: Quick Responses to High Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Emails and Social Media Meltdowns

A Neighborhood Example

Kimberly and her husband, Victor, lived slightly downhill from their neighbor Jake. Kim and Vic had lived there for about ten years when Jake moved in. Over the months, they would give a friendly wave to Jake and they had exchanged phone numbers and email addresses at a neighborhood picnic.

After about six months, Kim and Victor received an email from Jake demanding that they cut off the tops of their trees, so that his view of the lake was completely unobstructed. Kim and Vic walked up to see the view from beside Jake’s house and observed that their trees barely affected his view –in fact, in a few years they thought it might make a nice frame on both sides of Jake’s view of the lake. So they kindly emailed back that there was no need to cut their trees and that from their observations, there was no problem. Then, they received a nasty email from Jake threatening to sue them if they did not do a he said and he had copied the email to several other neighbors.

Should they contact a lawyer? What should they say back to Jake? What would you do?

Resources for Parents

Worldwide, people are in relationships with a High-Conflict Person who is dependent on others to solve their routine problems and angrily blames anyone but themselves when the HCP has troubles (and the troubles never seem to end). This behavior is all too common and it’s especially easy to do these days with email, texts, Facebook, Twitter and other social media. You can add and lose friends instantly with the simple click of a mouse! This gives HCP’s a great feeling of power and they often use it instead of solving problems.

This can be an HCP who drains family for decades, before they figure out how to set limits without making things worse.

The HCP might also be your so-called friend who periodically blasts you on Facebook and all her/your friends comment on it.

Maybe you have an ex-spouse who constantly sends you texts and leaves voice mails berating you for your lack of parenting skills.

It could be your co-worker who sends derogatory emails to you, other employees and your boss.

It might be your neighbor who sends letters to the homeowner’s association with unfounded complaints about you, your kids and your pets.

The HCP could be your brother who blames his job loss on your not giving him a ride and emails Mom all about it. Now she’s mad at you too.


These are just a few of the situations where you might find a High-Conflict Person, or be an HCP’s target of blame. Chances are, it’s happened before, and it will happen again. Do you know how to respond?

BIFF Responses are specifically designed to help you respond to written hostilities, but it can also be used in person-to-person verbal confrontations. BIFF is Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm (don’t let the friendly part fool you). It’s a simple set of tools that’s quick and effective in dealing with today’s High-Conflict communications, and we price it to be affordable to everyone. Check out our products, services and trainings for more information and contact us with questions or comments.

Custody and Communication Made Easy. - The OurFamilyWizard® website
Co-parenting and shared/joint child custody management for divorced or unmarried parents. Parenting time, visitation schedules, activities, expenses, messaging, journals and more.


What People are Saying about the BIFF Response Method

I am still feeling GREAT with my new tools! Four plus years of an exhausting divorce and a constant barrage of harassing, accusatory and demanding emails and I finally had enough. Every email I opened from the ex got me nervous, panicked and spun me into days of “How do I respond to this?” “How or do I respond to yet another false statement about me?!” I had been having help writing emails and responses for over 4 years from friends and family. Everyone was exhausted from it. After an hour with [the BIFF Response coach], I literally stood taller and had so much more power. FINALLY someone gave me the tools needed to respond or not respond. The emails don’t have power anymore! For the first time, I have a clear focused head and can read between the lines. Thank you!!
— client

“I am still feeling GREAT with my new tools! Four plus years of an exhausting divorce and a constant barrage of harassing, accusatory and demanding emails and I finally had enough. Every email I opened from the ex got me nervous, panicked and spun me into days of “How do I respond to this?” “How or do I respond to yet another false statement about me?!” I had been having help writing emails and responses for over 4 years from friends and family. Everyone was exhausted from it. After an hour with [the BIFF Response coach], I literally stood taller and had so much more power. FINALLY someone gave me the tools needed to respond or not respond. The emails don’t have power anymore! For the first time, I have a clear focused head and can read between the lines. Thank you!!”

BIFF Response coaching client

 

“In our conflict management and mediation workshops, I always recommend Bill Eddy’s books to participants. His ability to explain and explore complex topics in a clear and respectful way helps trainees learn to respond to high conflict situations in a more thoughtful way. I love the BIFF book because it focuses on real world attacks and real world BIFF responses! Highly recommended!”

Lisa Maxwell Director of the Training Institute, National Conflict Resolution Center

 

“I loved this book. It will truly help me to be able to stop and think about the fact that I am not actually the problem upon receiving a high conflict message of some sort. Eddy says we can retrain our brains. It is not exactly like “grey rock” because we are actually accomplishing something — we are getting the message across that we will not be pulled into emotional warfare and we are ending the conflict in an informative way.”

Megan Cox, A Cry for Justice

 

“It was a pleasure meeting you and attending your course… The material is so practical that an hour and a half after today's session I have already written a letter applying your BIFF tools and received a compliment from my employer that the letter was fantastic.”

Sandra, Mediator, Vancouver, Canada

 

“I loved it. This book is very intriguing and a godsend for handling difficult personalities who don’t want to stop fighting.”

Dennis L. Sharp, Attorney, Facilitator, Arbitrator & Mediator President, Sharp Resolutions, Inc.

 

“The BIFF Response method is one of the best methods I recommend for writing a response to someone with borderline or narcissistic personality disorder – or anyone who is frequently angry and blaming you. It calms them down without attacking them back. When I have written about it on my blog on the Psychology Today website, I have received some of the most thankful feedback. It’s easy to learn and it makes your life so much easier when dealing with any difficult person.”

Randi Kreger, Author of the Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder; Co-Author of Stop Walking on Eggshells and Co-Author of Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder


Contact Us

The BIFF Response Method
is a project of the
High Conflict Institute
530 B Street
17th Floor
San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: 916-258-BIFF (2433)

Skype: Biff.Response

The BIFF Response® method is a trademark of William A. Eddy exclusively licensed to High Conflict Institute LLC.