The Annoying Artist: How to stay cool when relationships don’t click

The best way to avoid creative conflict is to be proactive and prepared

You feel it coming.

The rise in your heartbeat. The clenching of your fist. The tensing of the muscles in your neck.

And all because you aren’t comfortable working with a fellow artist.

How can you keep your cool when creative personalities clash?  

Creatives are often emotionally sensitive. Some refer to it as the “vibe” or “energy” they sense from another person.  Whether real or imagined, tension arises when the personalities of certain artists just don’t seem to fit. No matter how we try, we feel internal conflict in every situation in which we interact with them.

So, should we cast off any creative artists that we can’t seem to get along with? Delete their phone numbers? Block their emails?

No, but we should be able to institute reasonable boundaries to protect our emotional and creative health.

Imagine an emotional pressure gauge every time you interact with a fellow artist. There’s a green zone, where things are easy and the bonds are strong. There’s a yellow zone, where things can get strained and perhaps some warning of relational strife exists. Then there’s the red zone where full-fledged conflict and anger are present.

The key? Deal with the yellow before the red arrives. When you notice a creative or relational connection is sliding into the yellow zone, make efforts to back away. Create a safe space in which you can defuse the situation. Practically speaking, it may mean delaying a project for a while, cutting back on your interactions, or getting another person involved who can help bridge the relational gaps. It may be difficult to navigate, but it’s better than allowing a red zone reaction to occur when you could have handled the situation earlier.

Relational conflict may be an unavoidable part of a creative lifestyle, but you don’t have to let it continue. Nothing lasting was ever created by a stressed-out artist.

Treat your creative relationships like you would treat your finances – stay out of the red.

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