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How to Deal with Difficult People in Your Life


August 01, 2020

Difficult people are everywhere believe it or not. They are in our families, the mall, our schools just to name a few. No matter how you try to avoid them, they will always show up.

A difficult person is someone who makes it hard/uncomfortable for people to relate with him/her He/she creates an environment that is tensed, loveless and boring which causes little or nothing to be accomplished. A difficult person can make you question your very existence and just the thought of meeting daily can be your worst nightmare.

When I got my second job a few years ago, the first day on the job was quite scary. I met a guy who pointed out two ladies who have been in the company from the time of its inception. He told me to be very careful because they were the reason why most people had been fired from the job.

I kid you not, I held on to those words and this made working with these women difficult. Every moment with them seems like forever. Other colleagues who have had unpleasant moments with them confirmed my fears.

It took God and my siblings with a lot of courage to remain even to this day. My experience might differ from yours but I bet you can relate to this. Here are the four common types of difficult people

1. The Damp cloud:

These are usually the discourager and a vibe killer. They never see or say anything positive on any issue. Usually, when you go to them with a new idea that you have, they will tell you why it would never succeed or remind you of what happened to the last person who tried doing the same thing. It is hard to get along with them in your team.

2. The Static:

They usually contribute little or nothing in any given task. They leave the heavy lifting for other people while they go about complaining about how difficult other people are. It could be hard to tell because they don't look difficult to relate with not until you guys team up to achieve a goal then you'll be shocked at the end result.

3. Peacock/Peahen:

These show-offs can never be impressed by what you are doing or trying to accomplish. They compare you to other people and sometimes tell you how they would have done better if they were in your shoes. Their weapons are comparison and shame.

4. Explosives:

I call these ones the, 'only my will must be done' kind of people. They are particularly interested in enforcing their ideas on others whether it is convenient or not. They would step on your toes and not give a care in the world about how you feel.

They usually aren't calm enough to listen to others and it becomes too late before they realize their mistakes. You need an extra dose of patience with these ones.

Here are 10 simple but proven ways to deal with a difficult person in your life

1. Be calm:

When a difficult person doesn't know your intentions or understand what point you are trying to get across they will be defensive. It is easier to point out the other person's mistake without considering what part was your fault. Listen genuinely to understand their intentions while communicating yours respectfully and not on what you plan to say next just to counter theirs.

2. Treat people with respect:

"Do unto others like you want them to do unto you." This proverb speaks volume. Don't talk down at the person because he/she doesn't want to be treated like a baby or a younger sibling. Even if the difficult person is a sibling he/she still deserve your respect.

Don't try to force your idea down their throat? If they don't get your point immediately you can do it some other time when everyone is calm.

3. Don't pacify:

Stop trying to tell someone who is emotionally aggravated to 'calm down'. Allow them to vent. Asking them to calm down would make matters worse instead find out why he/she is upset.

4. Don't return anger with anger:

Michelle Obama says, "When they go low, we go high" resorting to being on the same level with a difficult person is unwise because you will never win. When he/she raises their voice don't raise yours rather choose to speak calmly. Carry yourself in a class that cannot be ignored.

5. Avoid smiling:

Smiling or laughing at an aggravated person might seem like a good option to normalize the situation but it often backfires. The other person doesn't think they are taken seriously and that attitude can be irritating. This is so true because who doesn't want to be heard? Giving someone your attention when communicating is key.

6. Safety first:

Maintain a safe distance between you and the aggravated fellow. Don't try to console the person by touching him/her. This is not only irritating but a sign of not respecting people's boundary.

7. Apologize:

Saying 'I'm sorry' or 'how can I fix this' can go a long way to solve any problem. Especially when the person came battle-ready for you. This act can be a potent way to avoid a difficult person. Pick your battles.

8. Get to know people:

Sometimes, all we need is to learn about other people's story and you will be shocked by what we would discover. Some difficult people treat people rudely based off bad experiences they've encountered with other people and they've vowed never to be taken for granted ever again. Having compassion for people helps us mature to the point where we don't think only about ourselves.

9. Move on:

After you have done everything and this individual still proves impossible, then all you have to do is ignore him/her and move on. There's a popular African proverb that says, "You can take a camel to the stream but you cannot force it to drink water."

10. Applaud Yourself:

Go for a walk or doing an activity that would help you detox the stress in your system. Pat yourself on the back for getting through such a difficult situation.

Hannah Udobia
20k+ pageviews

Writer since May, 2020 · 7 published articles

Hannah Udobia is a former student of the Writers Bureau Academy, Manchester. She is a budding writer who enjoys writing and reading engaging articles, travelling and conducting exceptional interviews. She has been published in Independent Australia, Relate Magazine and RubyPlus Africa Teen magazine.