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Rules for Confronting a Difficult Band Member

Don’t confront him in front of his girlfriend or sister or mother. Every guy wants to be a hero if his girlfriend or sister is around so you better not poke his ego during those moments. That spells H-E-L-L for you. And, of course, it is very rude in general. Talk to him in private. On the other side of the coin, if you want things to be okay, if you want to connect with this difficult band member, then this is the perfect time. Place him in a pedestal for a few seconds and it might have good results on your friendship. These difficult guys are difficult for many reasons and I bet one of the main reasons is their insecurity.

Don’t confront him over some beers. Oh yes I know you only become talkative and open when you’re drunk. You want your conversation to be cool and relaxed.  But you’re inviting danger! Talking about someone’s attitude over some drinks is a big no-no. Alcohol can make us say crazy, do crazy things. Most people also don’t take any conversation from the beer session seriously because they think it just might be the alcohol talking. If you want to talk about a serious matter, do it with rhum. Kidding. You can have a couple of beers as long as you drink moderately. But, you know, sometimes when the issue is so heavy we tend to drink more than usual. So better be safe. Don’t mix sensitive talk and alcohol.

All you need is charm. If you’re not the most charming person in the band, if you’re his least favorite, then you might want to let the charming one do the talking for the group. Difficult plus semi-difficult equals trouble. You might need to read our 5 Personality tips for musicians if you think you’re kinda unpleasant.

Don’t tally his every bad deed. Don’t keep count of his bad and good deeds after your confrontation unless he’s a thief. I mean, come on! If he’s only difficult because of his personality and he’s willing to change, then give him some time to change. You should bear in mind that it takes time for all of you (yes, you!)to adjust.

Have some team building activities. So maybe there’s tension because all of you are friends since high school and this guy is just a newcomer (an extremely talented newcomer). So you watch his every move, pay attention to his every annoying habit just because he’s the new guy. If you have that unwelcoming heart… let’s say you really believe this guy is from hell, then give him a chance to prove to you that he’s not.  The way to do this is bond beyond music. Travel, watch a game together, eat in an exotic cuisine. Please talk about something aside from your music. Shake things up a bit and get to know him better. Trust me, you’ll find a good trait or two.

Don’t give him a stupid nickname. He’s not as dumb as you think. He’ll know. This nickname calling will also make you and the rest of the team feel like you’re one solid group against him which will intensify the tension. I don’t care if you’re still in high school. Please, don’t act like high school kids! Bullying is fun and you just might want to find fault in him so you have a reason to “bond” with the other guys in attacking him. Re-evaluate. If you’re the type of person who gives nicknames, I don’t think the guy’s the difficult member.

Count to 20 before you respond to an offensive remark. Okay, 10..or  5. My point is, not right away. The goal is to become assertive- not aggressive. Assert, Assert, Assert without causing trouble. If you don’t want to be treated like a clump of dirt, tell him so. Tell him specifically what you do not want in a non-provoking manner. You should have a commanding voice and a straight face that says “I don’t want to be treated this way. I mean it”. There shouldn’t be “or else I’m gonna punch your eye”.

Every confrontation should be constructive. If you believe in your band’s talent and if you really like them as individuals, then you have to make it work. Do not confront if you just want to release your hard feelings or because you “can’t stop yourself”. Just speak about your ill feelings to your imaginary friend or journal. When you’re no longer that passionate about him, that’s the time you confront him. T

Accept that there are just annoying people…who are extremely talented. Oh yes. And if you think you can tolerate his behavior for the benefit of your band, then make it work. But if you think you’ve had enough ass-kissing and bending that it affects your views about music, music-making, and life in general, then it’s time to say bye-bye.

I believe making and playing music should be fun. There are more important things to deal with (making music!) than annoying band mates. But I also believe that difficult people are everywhere if we try our best to find them. In fact, I think every band has one or two.  If you can’t stand difficult people, then you should just be a one-man band. But wait, even so…you will still deal with lots of difficult people. It could be your manager, your stylist, your major sponsor. The important thing is patience and communication skills. I believe that if you follow the rules above, you’ll live and make music more harmoniously.


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