Dealing with difficult people can be a challenge at the best of times, whether that be with family, friends, colleagues or even management. In this blog post, I share my tips for dealing with difficult people.
Put yourself in their shoes
If someone is being difficult, I ask myself what could be causing them to behave like that and look at things through their eyes. Are they being hurtful because they’ve been hurt in the past or because they’re scared of getting hurt? As Vishen Lakhani, says, “hurt people, hurt people”. If it’s a colleague that’s being awkward, maybe they have a deadline to meet or a heavy workload. If someone is particularly problematic, it can be challenging to see things from their point of view.
Focus on their good points
Make a list of all their positive attributes. Again, this can be challenging. Think outside the box. There’s someone I have a tough relationship with, and I found it hard to think of any positive attributes for her. I do know she has a good relationship with her kids, so I presume she’s a good Mum.
As with everything in life, I believe it’s important to take responsibility. I ask myself if there’s anything I could have done differently. I make a decision to take responsibility moving forward. The world and the people around me are my mirror. They are showing me something I need to see. If someone irritates me because they are arrogant, it’s often because I have a certain amount of arrogance myself. “It takes one to know one,” as the saying goes. On the other hand, it might be that I could be more compassionate, assertive or that I need to set boundaries.
I can’t control other people. I can only control how I react to them.
Speak to them in person
Sometimes the only way to communicate is through email and that certainly seems to be the default these days. In my experience conversations with difficult people are often easier over the telephone, or even better, in person.
Avoid talking about people behind their back
This is the hardest one for me. I do have a bad habit of gossiping and talking about people behind their back. It’s a hard habit to break. A couple of years ago I read something that said, “don’t say something behind someone’s back that you wouldn’t say to their face”. Unfortunately, I am not very good at this but writing this blog post is a good reminder.
Send love and forgiveness
When I do my daily chanting and meditation, I send love to the world, and I send love to everyone who I’ll encounter during the day. If there is someone I am finding especially difficult, I send them love and pray for their happiness. I pray that they receive everything I want for myself. I use my forgiveness rituals. When I have a meeting with someone I find difficult or if I am sending a potentially awkward email, in my head I repeat, the love in me salutes the love in you, three times. In the case of sending an email I set the intention that it be sent with love and received with love. (Based on material from A Course in Miracles and Marianne Williamson).
Prayer for dealing with difficult people
I usually have a prayer up my sleeve for most situations. My favourite prayer for dealing with difficult people, as well as any problem is,
I am praying for a miracle. What do I need to do differently? How do I need to think differently?
I’m handing this over to you. I’m handing it over to love. I want to see the love in this situation. Let love’s will be done. (Based on material from A Course in Miracles, Marianne Williamson, The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith by Gabby Bernstein and Love Is All There Is by The Source).
These last two points really are miraculous. I have been amazed at the results when I have practiced these things.
Recently I attended a meeting with a colleague who I’d previously had a difficult relationship with. I was feeling quite nervous about the meeting. When I did my meditation and chanting that morning, I sent love and forgiveness to my colleague. I pictured her and imagined sending her pink, loving energy.
As the meeting started, I was surprised to find my colleague was in good spirits and much friendlier than I had anticipated. During the meeting I kept sending her love. Since then, our relationship has improved dramatically.
Dealing with difficult people can often be related to self-esteem. If you’d like to learn how to achieve Unlimited self-esteem check out my online course and free guide Happiness Club for Unlimited Self Esteem. The free guide is available when you sign up to my mailing list.
I hope you found this blog post about dealing with difficult people useful. What is your experience of dealing with difficult people? Let me know in the comments or in the Happiness Club Facebook Group.