Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Need to deal with difficult people? Read on....

In our everyday life, we will definitely meet a person who makes our life miserable by being difficult. The following are tips for dealing with difficult people who are in your life, for better or for worse. Hope it helps! (Received this via my email today. Author = unknown)

1. Avoid discussing divisive and personal issues, like religion and politics, or other issues that tend to cause conflict. If the other person tries to engage you in a discussion that will probably become an argument, change the subject or leave the room.

2. In dealing with difficult people, don’t try to change the other person; you will only get into a power struggle, cause defensiveness, invite criticism, or otherwise make things worse. It also makes you a more difficult person to deal with.

3. Change your response to the other person; this is all you have the power to change. For example, don’t feel you need to accept abusive behaviour. You can use assertive communication to draw boundaries when the other person chooses to treat you in an unacceptable way.

4. Remember that most relationship difficulties are due to a dynamic between two people rather than one person being unilaterally "bad". Here’s a list of things to avoid in dealing with conflict. Do you do any of them?

5. Try to look for the positive aspects of others, especially when dealing with family, and focus on them. The other person will feel more appreciated, and you will likely enjoy your time together more.

6. However, don’t pretend the other person’s negative traits don’t exist. Don’t tell your secrets to a gossip, rely on a flake, or look for affection from someone who isn’t able to give it. This is part of accepting them for who they are.

7. Get your needs met from others who are able to meet your needs. Tell your secrets to a trustworthy friend who's a good listener, or process your feelings through journaling, for example. Rely on people who have proven themselves to be trustworthy and supportive. This will help you and the other person by taking pressure off the relationship and removing a source of conflict.

8. Know when it’s time to distance yourself, and do so. If the other person can’t be around you without antagonising you, minimising contact may be key. If they’re continually abusive, it's best to cut ties and let them know why. Explain what needs to happen if there ever is to be a relationship, and let it go. (If the offending party is a boss or co-worker, you may consider switching jobs.)


1. Try not to place blame on yourself or the other person for the negative interactions. It may just be a case of your two personalities fitting poorly.

2. Remember that you don't have to be close with everyone; just being polite goes a long way toward getting along and appropriately dealing with difficult people.

3. Work to maintain a sense of humour -- difficulties will roll off your back much more easily. Shows like "The Office" and books like David Sedaris' Naked can help you see the humour in dealing with difficult people.

4. Be sure to cultivate other more positive relationships in your life to offset the negativity of dealing with difficult people.

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