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How to Deal With Difficult People

Ranjan Shandilya Jun 18, 2019
There can be nothing more frustrating than dealing with difficult people. Here are a few tips that can help you make this task simpler.
We have to deal with difficult people at some time or the other. It can be your boss, your neighbor, the butcher or worse, someone in your family. The main task here is not to lose your cool, but to be the same person that you are.
Difficult people can make you reach high levels of frustrations and in turn can make your life difficult. You have to learn to recognize when this starts happening, and take corrective actions immediately.
Here are some strategies you can use while dealing with such people. Remember that these are just strategies, and you will achieve success only after you learn how to use them effectively.

Staying Calm is the key

Difficult people often tend to generate a lot of tension around them, especially when there is no need. You need to stay calm and get the point across that, there is no reason to get agitated.
If you lose your patience, you have joined the battle on their terms. Breathe slowly and stick to the point. Once they see that they cannot agitate you, and neither can they change the topic, they usually tend to relent a little.

Distance yourself

It is important that you maintain a distance from such persons. Often their behavior is seen as a personal attack, and if you are able to detach yourself and take an impersonal view, you will be able to assess that, it is usually never anything personal and it is just their general attitude towards everyone in general.
You can also ensure that you have very little face-to-face meetings with them and use other forms of communication like email or text messages. Speaking on the telephone is also a good option, as the amount of conversation will be limited.

Interrupt when things go out of control

When you see that a situation is getting out of control, interrupt and stop the person immediately. Suggest taking a small break and meeting later. This will help calm down both the sides and give both an equal opportunity, to think and reflect on what happened.
This interruption is also important, as such a person is an expert in putting others in difficult situations and if you do not interrupt, you may end up in a yelling match.

Why me?

The 'why me?' approach will not help. You have to understand that, every individual is different and will behave differently.
You must stop wishing that, things were different and accept the fact that people are difficult in general, and do not have a personal agenda against you. Once you accept this fact, you will not dread facing and handling any person.

Approach at the right time

It is observed that such people will relent more easily, when they are not under excessive stress or obligation. Approach such people, when you know that they are in good mood and will not bite your head off at the smallest of things.

Do not give up

Lastly, do not give up. Dealing with difficult people requires a lot of patience and time. The best way is to stop letting these people interfere with your effectiveness. This way you will enjoy your work and will feel more confident.
Remember that you have the right to choose the people in your life. If someone is making life difficult for you, stop and assess if you really need that person in your life.
And if you cannot ask the person to leave you alone, then you and that person in question must sit down and discuss the issues. Maybe the other person too thinks you are difficult. Talking and agreeing on some compromises is usually the best way to resolve the differences.