How to Deal with Difficult People
I love people, I really do. All of them. However, not everyone is created equal. Truth be told, some are easier to get along with than others. I was recently invited on Fox Business to chat about how to handle annoying co-workers (video here), but the segment made me realize how these issues affect far more than just your workplace. Everyone has their own style, their own quirks, and their own battles that they are fighting. Learning to deal with them without losing your mind can be a valuable skill. So how do you deal with people in your life that aren't always the easiest to mesh with? Here are my top three survival methods:
1. Breathe. Do you know how many meltdowns can be avoided with 10 seconds of deep breathing? Me either, but if I conducted a study (maybe I will!), I guarantee a ton. There is power in your breath. If you are faced with someone that gets your blood boiling, and you have that instant desire to fight fire with fire, don't. Walk away and breathe for 10 seconds. Breathe deeply and focusing on bringing in peace, and releasing frustration.
2. Lead with Empathy. Empathy is a trait that I believe the world needs a lot more of! Empathy is having an understanding of the emotions of another. , and leading with empathy allows you to understand where the other person is coming from. Is there a reason they are being difficult? What is going on in their own life that is making them _________ (fill in the blank: angry, mean, frustrating, annoying)? There is often far more to the story. Understand that every difficult person is likely acting that way because of their own difficult life. That knowledge can take the sting out of the frustration you have with them.
3. Don't. Don't deal with them. If someone is consistently difficult, and you have found it impossible to prevent your own energy from being drained, limit the time you spend with this person. If it is a social friend, reconsider spending any time at all. A co-worker? Limit your interaction to the necessary. We are a combination of the five people we spend the most time with. Choose your inner circle carefully.
Have you had a situation with a difficult person that you would like to share? I'd love to hear about it!