Your options when it comes to dealing with difficult people are many. You can avoid, procrastinate, blame, whine, cry, shake, gossip.... ( I am sure there is many more) or you can take a deep breath and do what needs to be done.
Kenny Rogers had it right.
“Know when to hold them, know when to fold them. Know when to walk away and know when to run”. If you are saying “Kenny who” I am showing my age. I will be positive and say that this implies wisdom on my behalf!
Difficult people are all around us. You cannot avoid them! In fact, there is someone somewhere in the world that finds you difficult. Weird huh?
The key to dealing with difficult people is be aware of how it affects you, to be aware of your own responses, to maintain emotional control and to ensure that you are working for the best outcome. This is not about control or manipulation but about choice. We all choose our behavior and also our responses.
In dealing with difficult people, there are times when the best thing to do is let it go (for example, if the person is unlikely to listen or change). There are also times when it is best to speak up confidently and assertively (for example if someone at work is disrespecting you). There are also times when you need to look after yourself because the person is unlikely to change (the overly needy friend who always takes and never gives).
I was dealing with a very aggressive person recently. This person was known to Police and was involved in drugs. This person did not want my assistance and made it very clear. There were some legal reasons that I was asked to be involved to provide this person with their right to support.
Despite my best intentions this fellow would verbally threaten, yell abuse and generally disrespect me each time we met. It was clear that after only a few encounters this person was not going to change and that my time and energy was best served by working with someone who did want my support. This is what I mean when I say “pick your battles, look after yourself and realise that each of us are self responsible.”
So I made the decision to tell him that I would no longer be working with him. I also told the referring party that I would no longer be seeing this gentleman as he was not invested in the process and it was a waste of everyone’s time and energy.
Sometimes you MUST stand up for yourself.
This can be a hard idea to swallow if you feel over responsible, if you have ever enabled someone in your life. The bottom line is that each of us are accountable for our own outcomes.
Your difficult person may be telling you that if you don’t help them they won’t cope. The truth is, the best gift you can give them is by believing in them, empowering them and allowing them to do things independently.
If you are struggling then we are here to help. Dealing with a difficult person can be lonely, it can provoke feelings of anxiety and fear, but this is not how it has to stay. You don't need to struggle any more, you are not alone, some simple steps can make all the difference. I’ve been where you are and I’m here to support you in making the changes you need to create the life and the relationships you have always wanted.
If you would like to stay connected why not join us on Facebook. Here we share more resources, stories and encouragement to help you become the Communicator you would like to be.
We also have an online course that is specifically designed for this reason. This course is designed to help you understand the needs of others and how to best deal with people in difficult situations and circumstances. Most often difficult people are just different from you. Learn what works and what doesn't work for each of the different Communication DNA styles. Want to know more?
Until next time, care, connect and be a Courageous Communicator.
Let’s improve the world we live in one conversation at a time.