Dealing with Difficult People
In an article titled “Becoming Adept at Dealing with Difficult People and Avoiding Conflict,” Elizabeth Scott states people should “work to maintain a sense of humor.” She references shows such as “Modern Family” and suggests they can be used to help see the humor in dealing with difficult people.
Whether in our personal or work lives, we likely have encountered difficult people. While some may seem to have mastered the skill of remaining calm in the midst of chaos, others seem to struggle in this area.
When dealing with difficult individuals, it is important to maintain composure, assess the situation, and look for the most appropriate way to deal with it, then find the most reasonable resolution. This article explores several tips on how to do so.
Remember the Serenity Prayer
I find that the Serenity Prayer has the power to get people through all types of situations. Dealing with difficult people seems to be no exception. Applied to this situation, the Serenity Prayer would look something like this.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (them), the courage to change the things that I can (me), and the wisdom to know the difference.
One of the keys to dealing with difficult people is learning to accept them where they are. If we can have the insight to look at our part in the situation and the courage to make the necessary changes, we may find that it often is easier to deal with others.
Take a Look at the Man (or Woman) in the Mirror
If you find yourself dealing with difficult people on a regular basis and it’s not associated with your occupation, maybe it’s time to take a look at yourself. A mentor once said to me, “if you want to know they type of person you are, look at the type of people you attract.” If this statement makes you cringe, it may be the hard truth. I’m a firm believer that if you surround yourself with negative people, you are bound to feel negative most of the time. The same goes for drama. If drama always “finds” you, it’s possible that you may have to examine your role in the drama.
If you find that dealing with difficult people is not mostly personal but work-related, take the best approach and find out how you can make the experience the best for both you and your customer or client.
Know When to Quit
Sometimes you may need to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Choose your battles wisely. There will be times where you may want to pursue a conversation with the individual to try to reach a compromise. However, there also may be times where you resign to the fact that their perspective may not change.