Often, it may so happen that our work gets stalled due to non-cooperation, rudeness, or plain old dislike from some person, who is deliberately or non-deliberately making our life difficult. The worst part of it is, sometimes you can't even gauge reasons for the apparent dislike for you, by that person.
It is difficult to understand difficult people and we make matters worse by responding with knee jerk reactions to their actions.
To begin understanding how to deal with difficult people, one must grasp some fundamentals of human psychology and be ready to observe and understand the behavior patterns of people. There are different scenarios, as every difficult person is difficult for a different reason.
Your strategy of dealing with such people should be adaptable according to the type of people you confront and the circumstances. Dealing with people is an art which you should master as it will stand you in good stead for the future.
Tips on Handling Difficult People
First and foremost, don't manhandle them. Do not resort to violent or provocative tactics. They usually do not work and convert things from difficult to impossible. Think and choose every reaction of yours, wisely.
Understand That People are Difficult for a Reason!
Everything that happens, happens for a reason, remember that. Analyze the situation in which you met the difficult person and try to find a logical explanation for his reaction to your actions. People are not that difficult to understand, if you put some thought into it!
May Be You Too are Difficult for Him!
It may be that he too finds you a difficult person to deal with and he is being difficult with you as payback for something you did to him in the past. So, look for the history of your dealings with that person. Maybe, you had knowingly or unknowingly hurt him! If that is the case, apologize honestly and own your mistake. That may break the ice between you.
Step in His Shoes and Think
It may also be that his reason for making life difficult for you has got to do nothing with your past dealings with him. It is just that he is being rude and mean because he is stressed out, insecure, or dissatisfied with the way things have turned out for him.
It is none of your business, what he has gone through, but if that is affecting his dealings with you, it is! Try to help him out from whatever is causing stress for him. Do not sympathize but empathize with his problems if you can. May be that will change his behavior towards you.
Be Nice and Never Lose Your Cool
Dissatisfied and insecure people are usually difficult to handle and they usually provoke you to do something stupid. Look at their mean behavior as just an attention seeking attempt. They want to be noticed and that is why they are the way they are.
So do not lose your cool when confronted with unjust criticism and provocative comments. Be straight forward and nice. Though he doesn't show it, in his mind he will appreciate you and eventually stop provoking or being difficult with you.
Be Patient and Persistent
Be patient and persistently believe in the goodness of that person. Try to ignore the bad part and be persistent in your request or demand from him, if you need some thing to be done from him. Ask nicely.
Compliment, But Do Not Flatter
There is something in every person that is worth being appreciated. Compliment him for it. If it is genuine appreciation, he will melt and your difficult person may just become the best buddy you ever had!
Talk and Reason With Him!
If nothing works, talk to him in a straightforward manner about what is his issue with you. Get it cleared out. If there is any misunderstanding, try and clear it out. Just think clearly and make him see reason! This tip presupposes that the person you are dealing with has the intellectual capacity to see reason!
Make Him an Offer He Can't Refuse!
The way an offer which can't be refused is offered in the novel God Father, by Mario Puzo! If it is a business dealing and you find some person difficult to deal with, analyze the situation practically. See what the person in front of you wants.
Usually, being difficult with you is a tactic to get what they want. Make a bargain and come up with a mutually beneficial offer which may just be too good for him not to accept it.
Go to Higher Authority
If you are dealing with somebody in corporate world or in a government establishment who is making your life difficult and if all the tactics do not work, go to the higher authority. Every one has a master, that is a boss.
Sometimes, people leave you no option but to manipulate them from the higher echelons of power. That should get your work done, if the higher authority you approach is more reasonable than your difficult person.
Avoid Him or Don't Think of Him
If it is somebody at work who is unnecessarily being difficult, just avoid dealing with him if possible. Else, you can use Howard Roark's strategy in the novel 'Fountain Head' by Ayn Rand.
When his prime adversary asks him what he thinks of him, Roark says, "I don't think of you." So simple, just don't think of the person. The complications and the problems which arise from thinking about him will disappear!
Outwit and Out Think Him
If it is somebody who is being outright mean out of sheer malice and his own perverse pleasure, it is time to take the fight to him. Such people deserve to be brought back to their senses. Out think him and outwit him and beat him at his own game. Sometimes, Machiavellian tactics are inevitable!
Such people have colossal egos generally. Exploit this flaw in them and get them into an ego trap. Use your brains. If they are bullies, remember, bullies are the easiest to lick!
You will get better at it with experience and learning to observe people impartially. All it takes is the application of some basic principles and some gumption!