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Navigating Gaslighting Customers: Advice From a Custom Furniture Painter

Welcome to my blog! I'm so glad you are here!

Today, I want to address a challenging aspect of being a custom furniture painter: dealing with customers who gaslight you. It can be disheartening and frustrating when clients undermine your expertise and question your abilities. However, fear not! In this article, we will share some valuable tips on how to handle such situations while maintaining professionalism and ensuring a positive outcome.

1. Understand Gaslighting:

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation where individuals make you question your own perceptions, memories, and competence. It's important to recognize when it's happening so that you can respond effectively. Gaslighting may involve customers dismissing your expertise, blaming you for their dissatisfaction, or constantly changing their requirements to create confusion.

This piece was done in one of our workshops using DIY Paint and

IOD Chateau Paint Inlay. Let's do another!

2. Trust Your Skills and Knowledge:

When faced with gaslighting, it's crucial to maintain confidence in your skills and knowledge as a custom furniture painter. Remember, you are the expert in your field. Remind yourself of your experience, training, and the successful projects you've completed. Trusting yourself will give you the strength to handle difficult customers.

3. Document Everything:

To protect yourself from gaslighting customers, maintain detailed documentation throughout the entire project. This includes initial discussions, design choices, and any changes requested by the customer. Having clear records will help you refer back to agreed-upon terms, preventing misunderstandings and potential gaslighting tactics. And don't forget to have a signed contract with clear expectations and guidelines. This is very important! I actually went years without using a contract, and to tell you the truth, I've always had an amazing experience with great customers who were very grateful and loved the outcome. But that isn't always the case. And you sometimes can't tell if someone is going to be difficult until it's too late. So please make sure you have a signed contract.

4. Set Clear Boundaries:

Establishing clear boundaries is essential when dealing with difficult customers. Clearly communicate your limitations, pricing, timelines, and project scope right from the beginning. By setting expectations upfront, you create a foundation of mutual understanding and respect. This proactive approach can minimize potential gaslighting attempts.

5. Practice Active Listening:

Active listening is a powerful tool when confronted with gaslighting. Give your customers an opportunity to express their concerns and frustrations, and genuinely listen to their feedback. Acknowledge their emotions, but also assertively reaffirm your expertise and commitment to delivering high-quality work. Active listening can help defuse tension and foster open communication. But be aware that this doesn't always work. This is why documenting everything, setting boundaries and having a clear, written contract is so important!

6. Seek Support:

Remember, you don't have to face gaslighting customers alone. Reach out to colleagues, mentors, or supportive communities of fellow custom furniture painters. Sharing your experiences with others who understand can provide valuable advice, reassurance, and perspective. Together, you can navigate challenging situations and find effective strategies.

7. Learn from Every Experience:

Every encounter with a gaslighting customer is an opportunity for growth and learning. Reflect on each situation and identify areas where you can improve your communication or customer management skills. By continuously honing your abilities, you can better handle similar challenges in the future. And remember, most of your customers are going to just be amazing. I remember one piece I painted where the customer actually teared up when she saw how beautiful her very damaged and broken grandmother's piece turned out.

Conclusion: Dealing with customers who gaslight you is undoubtedly a difficult aspect of being a custom furniture painter. However, by understanding gaslighting, trusting your skills, setting boundaries, practicing active listening, seeking support, and learning from each experience, you can maintain your professionalism and handle these situations with grace. Remember, your expertise and creativity deserve to be valued, and don't let anyone make you doubt that. Stay confident, stay resilient, and keep creating beautiful custom pieces for your customers!

Till Next Time!



p.s. Are you local? Check out our in shop class schedule and come take a class with me!

Come take an ombre paint blending class with us! June 24, 2023
The schedule for our classes, details and tickets are on our event tab!

Check out the new IOD Transfers!! Now available!


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