Monthly Archives: September 2010

How to Deal with Difficult People at Work

Wherever you work, you are likely to meet difficult people. It could be coworkers, bosses or customers with whom you have to deal. Thankfully, depending on who they are and how they behave, you can develop strategies for how to deal with difficult people are work.

1. Rise above it

Largely, your response to other people is triggered by your own self-esteem and how you feel about yourself. You are in charge of that.

It is much easier to deal with difficult people at work if they are negatively impacting upon a lot of people. That way, you have allies, also treated badly by that person, who can help you deal with them.

But what about if you are the only person dealing with that difficult one? Then you have to fall back on your own self confidence. Be sure you are doing your job properly and you are treating people well, then you can tell yourself it is the difficult person`s problem, not yours and you can forget about it to a large extent.

2. Develop good relationships

Develop good, positive relationships with everyone you work with. Do your job well, but accept and ask for help when necessary.

Appreciate those you work with and the job that they do. If you respect other people at work they are more likely to respect you and be less difficult with you.

3. Give effective feedback

If someone is being difficult at work, often, you will need to do something about that. You may have to give them some feedback. The way you do that is important if it is to be effective.

First, ask if it’s OK to give the person feedback and if it’s a good time. It is always better to talk to them when they want to listen to you. Give them a heads up so that if you have to tell them something that may be difficult for them to hear, tell them that so they can prepare for it.

Be straightforward and simple. Tell the person the issue and also the impact it is having on other people. Let them know the positive impact that behaving differently would have on people. That will help them see a reason to change.

Also, talk with them about ways they could change their behavior. They may not see these ways for themselves, especially at first.

4. Dealing with negativity in a coworker

We all know people who just love to complain and see the darker side of things, don`t we? But that kind of negativity can drag you down and get you depressed if you let it. Instead, be proactive.

The first thing to do, although you may not feel like it, is to listen to the negative comments. Then you can decide if they are justified. They might be: in which case, you have something to work on and improve.

If they are unjustified as far as you are concerned, then just a listening ear may be all the other person needs.

You could try sympathy, saying “I can see how that would be really bad”. Sometimes that can shock the negative person into thinking things really aren’t that bad after all!

6. Dealing with conflict

Often, people are afraid of conflict and that makes it difficult to deal with, especially when it makes you doubt yourself. If a conflict flares up, try to remain calm. If necessary, say that you need some time to think and arrange a time when you can talk together after you have calmed down.

Plan what resolution you want. Work out the things on which you must stand firm due to your beliefs and self respect, and those on which you can compromise in order to reach agreement.

These steps should help you deal with difficult people at work, no matter what issues you have to tackle with them.

How to Deal with Difficult People at Home

Dealing with difficult people at home can be more challenging than dealing with a difficult person outside of the home, where you can turn and walk away if you have to. You will usually have a closer bond with those people who live with or visit you than you do with people you work with or meet only outside the home.

Due to your bond with them, you need to use different strategies to deal with them.

1. Don’t Take It Personal

When you deal with difficult people at home you can become susceptible to taking their difficult attitude personally, more so than you might when dealing with difficult people outside of the home. However, taking a difficult person’s attitude personally will do nothing but make the situation all that more difficult.

When you think and feel it as personal you will be more apt to take a defensive position against the person who is causing you to feel that way. You then can become more concerned about protecting yourself than solving whatever problem the difficult person might be trying to convey.

2. Resist Fighting Back

Sometimes when you are dealing with a difficult person at home you may experience the desire to fight back and really give that person a piece of your mind or even worse.

Again, just like taking it personal, this will more than likely exasperate the situation and cause that person to become even more difficult, and could even cause them to feel justified in their behavior.

This is not to say you should become submissive and make way for the difficult person to say and do as they please. But you should remain calm and be intelligent in how to deal with a difficult person at home. The best thing to do is to put aside any emotions you might be feeling and become as objective as you can.

3. Avoid Appeasement

Difficult people want to be right even when they know they’re not. They also want to get their way even when they know they can’t. This is part of the dynamics of difficult people. However, to appease a difficult one at home can be one of the worst things to do for both yourself and that difficult person.

When you appease a difficult person with anything other than solving a problem or reaching a mutual understanding you give that person permission to behave toward you any way they please and this is not healthy for you or the relationship with them. In fact, you will lose self respect and the respect of that difficult person.

4. Change Them, Not!

So many people who enter a relationship with a difficult person seem to think that they can change that person. No-one can change another person. People change because that is what they know they need to do, not because someone else thinks that’s what the other needs to do.

Moreover, once you think and start acting like you can change difficult people at home they will more than likely rebel against those attempts. When a difficult person rebels you then can become their direct target and find them blaming you for their attitude.

5. Set the Expectations

There may be times that someone who is visiting your home becomes difficult to deal with. When this happens, immediately let them know whose home they are in and warn them that you won’t put up with their difficult behavior.

If this doesn’t cause them to change their attitude then ask them to leave.

These tips are not the only ones there are for knowing how to deal with difficult people at home, but they are the best ones to preserve yourself as a person and let that difficult person know that you are not a doormat upon which they can impose any bad behaviour they choose.

How to Deal with Difficult Family Members

Learning how to deal with difficult family members can be one of the most challenging of all relationships. With outgrown or toxic friendships you can close the door and move on with your life.

You can’t do that so easily with family members who are critical, negative, or controlling because they are family, flesh and blood. You can’t just turn, walk away, and forget about difficult family members because they will always be there in your midst.

So what can you do? Here are a few tips on how to deal with difficult family members.

1. Change You, Not Them

Some people think that, with enough effort and time, they can change the behavior of a difficult person. However, to think you can change somebody is delusional thinking because you can not change anyone except yourself. You are a human being, not a god.

So how do you change yourself so you can more effectively deal with difficult family members?

First, change how you see the difficult family member through understanding their behavior. This understanding can be gained by talking to other family members to find out the reasons why.

And secondly, change how you react to that difficult family member.

If that person is pushing your buttons don’t give them the satisfaction of provoking you, instead respond by saying something nice, maybe a compliment, or possibly even turning your hot button into a joke of some sort.

The point is to side step the difficult person’s negativity.

2. Employ Compassion

Using compassion to deal with a difficult family member is not the easiest thing in the world to do. Honestly, it can seem like nearly impossible especially if you have some resentment regarding the difficult family member’s behavior.

However, you would probably have compassion if that difficult person was the member of someone else’s family and you did not have to deal with them so much. That being the case, shouldn’t that same compassion be extended to a difficult person in your family?

3. Check Yourself

Sometimes a difficult family member will mirror something that is also in you. Often we see behaviors in others that we don’t like and often it is a behavior we don’t like about ourselves.

At these times it’s so easy for you to focus on the difficult person in order to avoid addressing that same behavior in yourself. But this tactic does no one any good, especially you because you deny yourself the opportunity of change and growth.

The next time you are dealing with a difficult family member look at yourself first before examining them. And if you fix you it could make the relationship much more pleasant and if it doesn’t at least it will make you a better person.

4. Be True and Sincere

In the context of dealing with a difficult family member, being true and sincere means not compromising your beliefs and feelings.

Maybe you did something for the difficult family member that you really didn’t want to do. This will cause you regret and guilt, and then resentment toward the person you did it for.

This resentment will then taint your perception of that person and your relationship with them with negativity. That would be a shame as it will prevent you seeing the good aspects of the relationship.

So, the next time someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to do be honest with sincerity and let them know the truth.

The bottom line in how to deal with difficult family members is to not try to change them, but change yourself in how you perceive them and how you react to that perception.