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7 Techniques on How to Deal with Difficult People

If you agree with me, there are different kinds of people, and depending on the categories of people you meet, they can range from those who make you happy, pumped up, and excited to those who make your life a living hell.

I believe we have all encountered difficult people at one point in time or the other. These people can be so frustrating and annoying that they make you want to scream your lungs out or punch someone. You are not alone.

Some examples of difficult people are:

  1. Those who feel like everyone wants to cheat or swindle them.
  2. The ones who know it all and don’t bother to listen to anyone else’s view.
  3. Those that never accept change.
  4. People who just bring negativity to the table. To them, nothing ever works
  5. Those that all they do is complain about why things aren’t working but yet they are not doing anything to change the current situation.
  6. Those who get angry or snap at the slightest provocation
  7. The category of people that just gossip and cause confusion where ever they go
  8. Those that take others for granted especially people who are weak or less confident.
  9. The “yes” people. They always leave you hanging after giving you false hopes and promises.

The truth is we can’t change people. All we can do is offer our advice and hope they take them. Instead of trying to figure out why some people can be so difficult, let’s focus on what we can control i.e, our reactions.

Let’s discuss some ways to deal with difficult people to prevent us from going crazy.

1. Understanding that not everyone is like you:

When we start understanding that we are all different and as such our reactions to things will differ, we will get angry less. We are all difficult to deal with at different times and that is because we all have opinions that we do believe in and hold firmly to. Most times, it is really difficult to change people’s minds so while we try to convince them, take it easy on them. Don’t push it! If they still don’t get your point of view, JUST LET THEM BE!!!!!!!!

“Always remember that you can explain things for people, but you can’t comprehend for them.”
Shannon L. Alder

2. Be calm:

Working with a difficult person on a project or program can be annoying. Being calm when you are pissed requires its own special kind of grace. Most times, it’s easier said than done but getting angry and flaring up at the other person typically isn’t the best way to make the next person see your own point of view.

Being calm helps you stay in control and above the situation. Like we said, this person is already difficult to handle so getting angry might not remedy the situation. No one wants to work with someone that is always on edge. When the person you are dealing with sees that you are calm despite whatever he/she is doing, you will start getting their attention.

3. Learn to respect others

We all like to be respected. In fact, everyone deserves respect regardless of age, size, race and gender and we feel offended when we are not accorded that. When dealing with a difficult person, always remember to treat them with respect. Once you start attacking someone, arguing, cursing people, and acting like they are stupid you lose their trust and you lose your chance at remedying the situation.

Disrespecting people will only make things worse. They won’t even listen to talk more of taking you seriously. Learn to treat people the way you want to be treated.

4. Build a rapport.

It’s easier to make people see your point of view if you have a rapport with them. If it’s a stranger you might not take their correction as seriously as a friend. Find time to connect with people by connecting with your colleagues on a personal level but still respect their boundaries.

Go out with them for lunches, dinners, events, support them in the little way you can. Get to know as much people, and not just colleagues. Learning more about people makes them more approachable and easy to influence.  This will go a long way in your work.

5. Learn to Ignore Them

When I have people bringing negativity left right and center, the best option for me is to ignore it. Exchanging words will only stress me out. The best thing I can do is try to correct them but if they don’t take it, I can’t force it down their throats. Most times, the best thing to do is conserve your energy.

In the same vein, the best way to deal with a difficult person is to simply ignore or avoid them. But most times we can’t, especially if they are people close to us like family.

People like our co-workers, classmates, etc. that you don’t have to work with much, or don’t feel comfortable around, it’s best you just ignore them if you can.

If they are customers, tell them how you feel and you do not feel comfortable working with them. You can give them suggestions of somewhere else they can go to for other needs to be met. This is important to ensure you protect your sanity and be polite. Sometimes difficult customers are simply not worth dealing with.

6. Understand that there could be different perspectives to things

I usually like to believe that there is no set pathway for dealing with things. We might all have experienced the same thing and handled it differently and got the best solutions. Just calm down and hear what others have to say. Share your story and listen to their suggestions. They may give you that idea that will change things for you.

Learn to see things from different perspectives. You might very well find some useful advice in the midst of the conversation.

7. Avoid smiling, as this may look like you are mocking the person.

Sometimes, when we experience a new perspective on things we tend to make a mockery of it by laughing, smiling, or making weird gestures. Even though people are making mistakes or you feel like you do not understand their point of view, avoid doing anything that makes them feel that you are making a mockery of them, thus, making them feel embarrassed or uncomfortable.

Similarly, humor can sometimes lighten the mood, but be very observant of the mood and tension in the room before making jokes so it doesn’t backfire.

NOTE: The key is to understand yourself. This will help you know when to act and when to ignore.