It’s not the easiest task when you have to handle annoying personalities in your everyday life. However, psychology teaches us how to deal with difficult people.
Let’s face it, you cannot escape difficult people. They are everywhere, and they’re complaining about almost everything. If they’re not complaining, then they are brooding or sulking in the corner. Hey, I’ve been difficult before, well, many times, and it was hard for others to deal with me. I feel for them.
How to deal with difficult people?
There are many kinds of difficult personalities. You have the complainer as I mentioned above, you have the one who always has to be right about everything, and you have the gossip.
But guess what, there are many other kinds of difficult people too. Would you like to know how to deal with them? Well, we’re going to use psychology to do so. You’re about to learn skills, techniques, and communication to reach the difficult people in your life.
1. Will they talk?
Before you can deal with difficult people, you first must learn whether or not they’re willing to talk. It’s best to understand what’s making them act negatively toward you or others.
You may find that some people don’t care, and they want to continue to gossip and mistreat others. But there are those who are just being difficult because something is wrong. Find out if they want to talk first.
2. Try to be calm
If someone is being difficult, especially towards you, it’s hard to keep composure. They could be making you angry or making you want to lash out in some way. Don’t do this.
According to Barbara Markway Ph.D., the best approach is to try your hardest to remain calm, remembering that what’s frustrating this person probably isn’t even about you. Count to ten, take deep breaths, or whatever you need to do to stay grounded.
3. Private approach
The first thing you should do when dealing with problematic people is to meet them in private. Trying to discuss the issue at hand in front of other people will cause defensiveness.
However, no amount of talking can change their mindset. It can only remind them of their actions and reactions. Difficult people must desire to change on their own. It’s just the first step.
4. Don’t be judgemental
Maybe this difficult person, whoever they are, tells you something controversial. Please refrain from making a judgment about what they’ve done or witnessed.
From one perspective, it can be easy to judge a different point of view, but staying neutral is key. Just listen and absorb what they have to say.
5. Prepare to be patient
The truth about people like this, they don’t change overnight. Most of the time difficult people have been that way for most of their lives.
There are so many reasons why they’ve adopted a bitter attitude, and that bitterness usually has long roots. But if you are patient, you can crack the hardened shell that deflects the rest of the world.
6. Communicate in love
While this might sound like you’re being a pushover, you’re not. A difficult individual feels overwhelmed by the world and accustomed to being pessimistic and sour.
They need kindness to understand that they can take a break from whining and complaining. Be open during the conversation, ask questions to gain clarification, and by all means, make eye contact so they know you really care.
7. Offer help
If there’s an obvious problem that’s triggering turmoil with someone, then offer help. As long as the difficulty doesn’t include the silent treatment, you may gain some insight into what’s causing the chaos within them.
When you have an opening in your conversation, ask them if they’ve done anything to solve their problem. If not, help them come up with a plan. Then offer your help to implement the plan.
8. One issue at a time
If you’re just learning how to deal with a difficult person, you might be intimidated. That’s okay. Soon, you will be able to help them after following the other steps.
But, when it comes to problem-solving, don’t try to help them with all their issues at once. This isn’t good for any of us. Take one step with your friend or family member, helping them find their own solution out of a difficult situation.
9. Set those boundaries
This is the part I hate the most. It’s the part when a difficult person just doesn’t even try to change or try to talk about things. They just continue to bad mouth you and others, maybe even using the silent treatment.
When this happens, there’s nothing left to do but build your boundaries. Don’t completely cut them off, but make a promise to yourself about what you will and will not tolerate. Your sanity is most important.
The right approach to dealing with difficult personalities
Whatever you decide to do, make sure it feels right. Learning how to deal with difficult people teaches you how to address many problems, including friends and family that personality disorders.
You can deal with them too. Just remember to keep your calm and just do the best you can. Even if difficult people turn out to be family members, there’s only so much you can offer.
I wish you well.
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