Everyone you know reacts to that colleague at work who drives them crazy. And we all have that gossipy neighbor who lights the neighborhood on fire. Or you may have parents who critique the way you’re raising your kids. Life happens! (Psst… difficult people surround us all!) These 5 forgotten, sure-fire truths to win big with difficult people will help you regain your own equilibrium. They’ll also bring in some critical workplace peace because difficult people are everywhere.
The good news?! Difficult people aren’t usually your problem.
Unless they are. In which case, you’d better have a system in place to deal with conflict, frustrations, and compromise. For the most part, though, we expect others to agree with one another. Or to at least grasp the same way of dealing with things as we do. Unfortunately, we’re not all the same. So when or if an organization doesn’t have a system in place to deal with disagreements, everyone suffers. So ask yourself, what’s the policy? How do you communicate? What systems are in place to deal with things? And, if you had an issue, does your HR Department have a process to solve issues?
Be grateful – it’s amazing that anything works.
Appreciating the fact that anything we build needs to be maintained goes a long way to feeling grateful. This goes for your family, homes, community, and workplace environments. The frustrations surrounding you aren’t always personal. I’m amazed that things last and every day we see how our long-held institutions are under attack. This is important because your life works when it does, precisely because you maintain it.
So if your work environment, your community or your family structure is breaking down, it’s time to re-think what’s up. Companies and schools are only as good as the systems in place and the people who abide by those accepted norms or processes.
What’s great is that you’re not alone. It takes a group of people to build and maintain anything. Even if they’re cranky in the process. Usually difficult people want to be heard and understood. The moment you give them a place to vent, they usually calm down. Try that first before you jump to conclusions.
Yet difficult people aren’t your monkey nor your circus.
Knowing where healthy boundaries are is an important tool. Their politics, lifestyles, personal habits or eating styles aren’t yours to contend with. Their life frustrations are theirs. Not yours. And unless you’re asked advice, and even then, it’s best not to weigh in with your opinions. Most people have no desire to change no matter what you say anyway. So keep the boundaries respectful by staying on your side of the street.
But, difficult people mistake my kindness for weakness!
Of course, they do! And it’s up to you to re-set that healthy boundary. People treat you the way you let them.
Saying that… I’ve found most people don’t want to make waves nor do they want any sort of trouble. Most people want to show up, do their jobs, and return to their families. They’re not thinking about you.
Yet, if you take them for granted, encroach upon their space or start interfering with their work or their lives, they’ll react. Even a boss needs to be heard before you’re allowed to react to their directives or even moodiness. For the most part, they’re just trying to keep it all together as well. Not drive you crazy.
Difficult people surround me and I don’t know what to do.
Yes, you do. You’re allowed to reset those boundaries. Treat them with respect by listening and learning. And doing what you say you’re going to do. Then try a compliment and thank them.
Difficult people tend to be those who don’t feel heard or understood. They’re underappreciated everywhere in their lives. Not just with you. They need you (because you’re reading this article) to walk away from the fight. Avoid taking the bait. And carry on with the task at hand. My guess is that they’re also screaming for some respect. Intuitively, we know when we’re tough to be around.
So thank them. Acknowledge them by listening and remember not to take things personally. Usually, most of the time, it’s not about you anyway.
You do you!