How to Deal with Difficult People

Have you ever had a colleague in school who would raise their hand up in class just to end up saying something that was completely irrelevant, simply because they wanted to be heard? Well, if you’ve had this type of experience before, good, because this is a pointer to one of the types of difficult people we have in this world- the think-they-know-it-alls.

But hey, they are not the only annoying ones around. Whiners (people who just can’t help being negative and pessimistic), tankers (people who are normally aggressive and angry almost all the time) and snipers (let’s give them a round of applause please, people who are rude and sarcastic, seeking to undermine others) also exist, just to name a few.

I’m not a specialist at this but with the few tips mentioned below, I hope you would be convinced to know that it is possible to stay calm, maintain peace and avoid conflict. Bear in mind though that these tips will, for now, only guarantee a shift in your own mindset and not a shift in the mindset of the people you would be dealing with.

The change you seek to see most of the time needs to take place in you first before it takes place in others. It’s a process.

1. Reflect unto them what you want them to reflect towards you

The way most people behave isn’t as a result of what they are told but as a result what they are shown. It doesn’t matter if a person is 100 percent rude, that rudeness would at least reduce to 50 percent if your countenance towards them is one of respect. Take the bold step and learn to set an example of how you wish to be treated.

2. Don’t try to fix people, try to understand them

It is said that the way most people treat others is a reflection of how they treat themselves. This statement is quite true because sometimes, it is not always about you. Sometimes, it’s best to just listen to what the other person has to say. As it is, it is very hard to reason with an unreasonable person. Listening to what they have to say first before speaking will surely help you go a long way.

Everyone likes the feeling of being heard. This is an effective tool that could be used to calm the person down while holding in your own fair share of adrenaline too. Most times, people behave or act in a certain way that reflects the vulnerability or fear they have inside. If you cultivate the habit of looking at the situation from this angle, you would be able to tackle the conflict from a non-judgemental and compassionate way.

3. Do not stoop down to their level

Do they think they are the only ones who can express anger? If a person gets angry at you, my friend, get angry at them too.
This surely would be the worst advice I could ever give. Repaying bad energy with bad energy isn’t the right way to solve an issue. If a negative person is constantly complaining around you. It’s not necessary to join in their complaints. If someone is unnecessarily angry at you, you don’t need to boil with anger in return.

This kind of irrational things won’t take you anywhere. As hard as it may seem, don’t stoop down to their level. If you feel that the tension is too much silently walk away. De-stress and then come back to solve the issue with a rational mind in the right way.

4. Set Limits

So far, I have encouraged being calm and lending an attentive ear. But I’m in no way encouraging passivity. Being calm in the heat of the moment doesn’t mean that you can’t be assertive. It’s quite okay to approach the difficult person, later on, to tell them your mind, not with threats or sassiness but with respect and gentleness. Tell them Hi, I actually didn’t like what you did the last time, I would really appreciate it if you wouldn’t do it again. Thanks.

This is a good move because, in this way you would be giving the individual a heads up, making them know that you are not the type to be taken undue advantage of. Then again, if you personally feel the need to bear with the individual a little more with saying anything, then fine. You just have to use your own discretion.

5. See it all as a Privilege

If you think about it, we actually won’t be able to fulfill the mandate of unconditional love if all the people God surrounded us with were perfect people who met all conditions. The mandate would be impossible if this was so. So you see, God knows what he’s doing.

Sometimes, he intentionally throws stumbling blocks our way. If we are smart enough, these stumbling blocks can be transformed into stepping stones. Trust me, if there are a number of difficult people in your life, be grateful for them.

Life wouldn’t be interesting if they didn’t exist. They are present to make you stronger and better not bitter and worse, so be careful to take the right path.

I really hope these tips have been helpful. You don’t need to get frustrated if things don’t work out overnight. As I had said, it’s a process. All in all, good luck and thanks for the intended effort. It would surely pay off sooner than later.


How else do you deal with difficult people? Do share in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to not miss a post. 

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