Dealing with Difficult People

Understanding and dealing with people you can’t stand, including yourself can be challenging. Here’s a little insight. Every one of us becomes someone else’s difficult person at least some of the time!

Who among us hasn’t whined, complained, felt hopeless, exaggerated information, withheld our true feelings, procrastinated a decision, lost our temper, loudly accused or withdrawn completely? The difference between you and your difficult person may only be a matter of degree, frequency or recognition and responsibility.

All these behaviors are observable and changeable!

If you’re fed up with laziness, frustrated by bullies, disappointed in human nature and tired of seemingly always losing, there is hope and help!

When dealing with difficult people you always have 4 choices:

  • Choose to do nothing.
  • Vote with your feet.
  • Change your attitude towards your difficult person.
  • Change your own behavior!

Let’s consider these four choices.

First, you can stay and suffer and complain that you can do nothing about the situation. Doing nothing can be dangerous because frustration with difficult people tends to build up and get worse over time. Complaining to people that can do nothing tends to lower morale, thwarts productivity while postponing effective action. If you choose to do nothing, own that it was a choice you made and don’t complain!

Second, you can indeed vote with your feet. Sometimes the best option is to simply walk away. You do not have t fight every battle. Some situations are not resolvable and some are just not worth resolving. Voting with your feet makes sense when it no there is no good reason or obligation to keep dealing with a difficult person. When everything you contribute makes things worse and you find yourself losing control; walk away.  You are cannot be anyone’s victim without your own permission.

Third, even when your difficult person continues to exhibit annoying behaviors you can learn to see them differently, hear them differently and feel differently around them.  Attitudinal behaviors you make in yourself will set you free from your reactions to problem people and release some of your sheer frustrations.

Fourth, the ultimate freedom – change your own behavior!  When you, personally, change the way you deal with difficult people, they must change the way they deal with you! Some people bring out the worse in you and some people bring out the best in you, you do the same to others.

There are many effective, learnable strategies for dealing with most problem behaviors. The choice is yours and the change begins with you, not anyone else!

Remember too, we are all difficult people from time to time.