How to deal with difficult People

Let’s face it, we’ve all come across unreasonable people in our lives whether it’s in a family setting, through work or on a social front, you know, the ones that love to make life difficult.  Most times, they may not even be aware that they are projecting negativity onto another, and other times, they are deliberately trying to ruin your day.

Occasionally, they can get the better of you and it’s easy to let them make you feel unsettled but don’t let these types of people ruin your happy day.  We have a choice on how we respond to these types of people, and below are some tips that you could use in your dealings with negative, rude and insecure people so that your happy mood is not compromised.

  • Confrontation; Bullies only pick on those whom the perceive as weaker.  If you remain passive, they perceive you as being weak and then you become their target. When you stand up for yourself and show them a backbone they will back down.  When people don’t like themselves, they must make up for it by making others feel bad.  Misery loves company.  The bully is the one who is insecure. When standing up to a bully, make sure that it is safe to do so.  In cases of physical violence or abuse consult with counselling and the law.  Remember to stand up to bullies.
  • Put the Spotlight back on them; difficult and aggressive people like to put the spotlight on you to make you feel uncomfortable.  They focus on what’s wrong with you and readily look at where they are to blame or how to solve the issue. They do this to dominate and control, rather that resolve. It is imperative that you do not fall into their trap by being on the defensive as you allow them more power as they pick on you.  So put the spotlight back on them, the best way to do this is by asking them questions.  Keep your questions constructive and probing so that you can defuse the situation.
  • Pick your battles; Not all difficult individuals require direct confrontations.  If the situation is not directly affecting your work or your integrity, then its best to leave it alone.  However, if someone is being a bully, abusive and insulting, then the situation needs to be discussed and resolved.  Often, it’s hard to convince a negative and angry person about your truth and it may be necessary to just walk away.  However, to stop the abusive cycle, you will need to set boundaries with them, and let them know exactly where you stand with the behaviour.
  • Keep a healthy distance; sometimes it may be difficult to stay away particularly in cases where you work together with the difficult person.  However, you can stay diplomatic with all your dealings and limit your interaction to the bear minimum.  Your time is valuable, and if there’s nothing too important at stake, don’t waste your time, trying to convince the negative person about your point of view because they won’t believe you.  Rather, stay rational and calm and limit your contact time with them.
  • Get some perspective from others; often, when we have a chance to talk about things, it seems easier to get through it. It’s a good idea if you have a close friend, relative or counsellor that you can talk to about the situation relating to a difficult person.  Someone may have experienced a similar situation in some way or another.  They may be able to offer you a different perspective.  At the end of the day, the way you choose to respond to the rude person in your life is up to you, however, it is always a good idea to speak to others that you can trust about the situation as they may have some great advice or experience that they can share with you.
  • Realise it’s not about you; It’s important to realise that when difficult people are being rude to you, it’s a reflection of who they are and you may just be the scapegoat.  Even though it can feel like they are personally attacking you, when you take a step back to analyse the situation, you will notice that most rude and difficult people are severely insecure and unhappy in their life and hence like to make others feel just as bad.  When you have been attacked, or bullied by someone, it is important to take some time out to do something nice for yourself.  If you like exercise -go hit the gym, or maybe you could catch up with friends to take your mind off things.  When you put your focus and attention on something else, it can assist you in feeling calm and empowers you to then look at the situation when you are more relaxed. 

If you or someone you know, need assistance in dealing with difficult people at work or in your life, feel free to contact one of our team members at Pure insights!

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