Thursday, February 22, 2018

5 Most Diplomatic Ways to Deal With Difficult People

Are there people at work or at home or your life in general who are making you look older just because they’re difficult? Difficult people will give you so much stress that not even the best makeup can hide it. This is a problem that you can instantly solve by breaking up with these people (like quitting a job so you don’t have to deal with a bad boss anymore or breaking up with selfish and self-centered friends who think everything is about them).

But as experience tells us, instant solutions are not always available and possible. More importantly, they’re not always the best. I made a list of simplest and kindest strategies to deal with difficult people that I myself have tried and learned from wise elders and angels whom I see as life teachers. The keyword here is kind. Beautiful people never resort to violence and inflicting pain upon others!

Who are These Difficult People?

Difficult people are literally people who make your life difficult. These can be the people in your life who are forever complaining about anything and everything under the sun, those who demand more from you than what you can give and they actually give, the narcissists who think everything should be for them and about them. These can be also be the people who talk behind your back, say nasty things about you, or probably do sneaky things to make you appear less stellar than you really are.

But 50% of the reason they’re difficult is because of you.
Yep, you heard that right. You can blame yourself for the way you feel about them.

So here’s the difficult person who does something that you don’t particularly like.
No, let me rephrase that.
Here’s a person who does things that you hate.
Her actions offend you, irk you, or bother you.

What happens here is you let that person get to you. You let that person ruin your minute, hour or day. You let that person stir emotions in you that produce stress hormones in your body, which age you.

Yes, stress ages you internally and externally. Stress shows on your face in the form of dark circles, wrinkles, flaky skin, eye bags, acne, and many others. You don't want stress-induced wrinkles to ruin your natural beauty.

Stress not only ages you; it also kills you! The stress that a difficult person can bring you ages you, inside and out.

You see, 50% of the reason a person is “difficult” is her actions. The other 50% is something you can control: your reactions.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: Difficult or toxic people are different from poisonous people or the people who verbally and physically abuse you. If you have these people in your life, you need to run away from them as fast as you can.)

How to Deal With Difficult People

Here are 5 strategies that you can use right away to make difficult people easier to work with and live with.

1. See the person as different, not difficult.

A big reason why the person is difficult is she’s a lot different from you. She does things differently. That’s what she is, she prefers to do things differently from you or from the rest of us.

You can’t control what that person does, obviously. But you can control yourself. You can reframe your thoughts and you can change your course of action.

Notice that I didn’t say you can control your emotions. Because for most people, this is a difficult thing to do. It is difficult to control our emotions, but it can be done by first changing your thoughts.

What thoughts do you have about the person? That she’s annoying, she’s bothersome, that she’s been nothing to you but a rumor-mongering pain in the a**?

For one, stop labelling the person. Stop JUDGING! All those negative descriptions are enough to produce stress hormones in your body. Instead, see the person’s actions and try to understand where she’s coming from. See the intention first, before you obsess about her actions. What is she going through?

You have an ultra-demanding boss? Maybe your boss’s boss is putting her under a lot of pressure too. That co-worker or relative who makes up foul stories about you? Maybe inside that person is someone who is so afraid to fail, someone who lacks the confidence, or someone who just wants to be recognized more. That person needs something from you or maybe from others that just doesn’t get addressed.

This is actually empathy in practice. Practicing empathy and being connected to others can generally make anyone a better person.

 2. Don’t take it too seriously.

Not everything in life should be taken seriously, especially when we’re talking about the actions of difficult people in your life whom you love deeply. What if those difficult people are your aging parents who demand a lot from you or who criticize you maybe 70% of the time you’re with them? Or what if it’s your spouse who doesn’t get tired of nagging?

I would bet that they’re not doing this to intentionally hurt you. They may have the best intentions in their heart, so try not to take their actions too personally or too seriously. Avoid being defensive.

Instead, respond by listening to the person and letting her know that you understood her by asking questions. Asking questions is a sign that you actually listened. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover something about yourself that will also help you grow as a person.

3.  Value your time more.

Don’t waste your time being angry or being overly concerned about the small stuff—and that includes those difficult people who aren’t really important to you. You can just shrug them off as long as their actions don’t directly impact what you do.

Still can’t get over what that difficult person in your life does to you? Try talking to terminally ill patients. They’ll tell you how precious time and life is and that you should spend it on the big stuff—the stuff that really matter to you like your dreams, your family, or your true friends.

Even better, try to see the good in every person. Having a dose of optimism is never a waste of time. Randy Pausch, Carnegie Mellon professor and the bestselling author of The Last Lecture once said, "Find the best in everybody. Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you. It might even take years, but people will show you their good side. Just keep waiting." Randy died of cancer in 2008.


4. Talk to the person, but only when necessary.

If that difficult person affects, let’s say your work or your goals, then you can calmly talk to the person and ask what she needs. This strategy takes a lot of courage, but sometimes you need to do this to prevent bigger problems that can result from lack of understanding and cooperation.

But again, focus on the actions. Are you sure this person is spreading rumors about you? Unless you have evidence, it’s best to ignore it. Use reason and logic, not your emotions. Also, avoid arguing or persuading the other person to do anything. Always present hard facts that the person can’t argue with. No matter how upset you are, treat and talk to the other person with respect. Be diplomatic and avoid using the word “you” so it wouldn’t sound like you’re accusing the person of a wrongdoing.

Here’s an example of how to do this:
Anna (the offended party): An email has been circulating about me (attach a copy of the email as your evidence). The email says I’m always late on my tasks for our project. I traced back the source and your name appears as the sender. I have records of when I sent each completed task (attach the file again). Is there anything that I have forgotten that may have warranted this email?
Jessica (the difficult person): ---

HARD FACTS usually silence the offending person.


5. Be thankful for difficult people. 


Here’s a rather uncommon way to look at it. One of my beloved life teachers reminded me to be thankful for emotions that I feel, negative or positive. Because that means I’m alive.

The fact that we’re feeling something means we’re alive and every moment that we’re breathing is something to be grateful for. In other words, you can even be thankful for difficult people who stir these emotions in you because they remind you that you’re alive.

You’re Bound to Meet a Difficult Person

Chances are, you already have these difficult people in your social circle or you’d meet some of them in your lifetime. Just imagine, today we have 7.6 billion people in the world and everyone was raised by unique sets of parents parents or individuals and exposed to various cultural and social settings. And when we talk about temperaments, we also need to factor in genetics. In other words, no two people are alike so you are bound to meet someone who is so different from you that they totally annoy you!

So remember, no amount of anti-aging creams can prevent lines caused by stress due to emotions stirred in you by difficult people, so learn to manage the thoughts that run through your mind and the words that you speak because these two reflect your true inner glow—something that doesn’t fade with age!

Read these books if you want to learn more about dealing with difficult people:


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is not really about dealing with difficult people. But most of the time, you can do something about it by learning to control what goes on inside you. This book will help equip you with the inner tools to better handle the difficult people in your life.

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