Have you ever lived with, worked with, or interacted with a very difficult person?
I know you have—because we all have.
Difficult people are those who pick fights for no reason, those who challenge opinions and beliefs that don’t line up with their own, or even those who are passively difficult by ignoring others, using others for their own gain, or purposefully stringing others alo
“Always try to maintain a positive attitude, even when you have to be direct.”
In all walks of life, we will rub shoulders with people we don’t get along with, and simply put—people we can’t stand. No matter how optimistic, positive, or self-controlled you are—there will be days when difficult people will get on your last nerve.
Difficult people make life difficult. But they don’t have to. There is a better way to manage these difficult relationships than by just ending them completely (or by losing your cool by exploding on them in the break room).
Rather than losing it, we suggest simply learning how to deal with difficult people.
Let’s start with 3 simple steps that you can incorporate into your life today:
- Listen Intently. Most of our issues in communication stem from simply not listening to the other person’s point of view. Listening intently to what others have to say can significantly diminish (and even extinguish) unnecessary arguments and blow-ups. The traits of a good listener include good eye contact, leaning in, and of course—listening before speaking or asking questions.
- Allow yourself to be open to another’s perspective. Being open-minded to the opinions of others (especially when they are not your own) is a sign of maturity and emotional intelligence. There is always something to be gained from another’s perspective. Allow yourself to see difficult confrontations as a way to grow and learn. Plus, when the other person feels genuinely heard and respected—they will cool down and the argument will naturally dissolve.
- Give the same grace to others as you give to yourself. Another sign of emotional intelligence is being able to let the little things go. We do this by allowing grace for other people’s mistakes (the same grace we would want for ourselves). The truth is, we all mess up. We all lose our tempers and we all make selfish and hurtful decisions. If we cover our offender’s mistakes with grace, we are more likely to receive grace for our own—and diminish unhealthy confrontations.
- Lastly, realize that behaviors are predictable. You can look for patterns with difficult people in order to prepare for confrontation. It’s best not to provoke these types of people, and just to walk away. If the situation becomes unhealthy, know when to get help from a superior at work or an expert in emotional health.
Always try to maintain a positive attitude, even when you have to be direct. If you can learn how to manage your relationships with difficult people, you will set yourself up to live with less conflict, stress, bitterness, and anger—no matter how many difficult people come your way.
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