The RADvocate Blog

The RADvocate Blog

by | 31 01 22

There are no ‘difficult clients’ only ‘clients in difficult situations.’

We have all experienced it.. that one person who calls every day- and when you answer, there is little or no update to their current matter to report and the conversation leads to delving in to the depths of their current situation, which you have likely heard 10 times the week before.

The person that calls at 4:55pm on a Friday afternoon, then 9am on Monday morning – just as your butt hits the seat at your desk (or is leaving it). 

What we often fail to consider in those moments of frustration is what is actually going on for that person, what they have experienced, and how they are feeling in those moments leading up to making that call to you. 

Then they are quite often labelled difficult, a pest, needy or co-dependent, when in reality, you may be the only person that they have spoken to that week, their only company, and often their only sense of hope. 

They are not difficult, but I can guarantee you that they are in a difficult situation, which is why you are involved. 

So what have I learnt throughout my years as an advocate and support person?  

  • Never assume what a person thinks, feels or believes.
  • Never assume you know or understand what a person has been through to be where they are today.
  • Listen without judgement. Everyone deserves a second chance, no matter what they have done. It is NOT your job to judge.

Give them hope.

A wise person once told me that even if a person does not have hope, you can often provide just enough for them to get through that day.

Tell them that! It can be a very powerful thing.

Remember your professional boundaries- you can do all of the above; have a great rapport with someone – and still maintain professional boundaries. 
 Next time a colleague says a client is difficult?

Be sure to gently remind them that they do not know or understand what that person has experienced or is experiencing, so, ideally…. their judgement is not warranted here!.

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