In every avenue of life- humans must deal with negative individuals. Sometimes these individuals come in the form of co-workers, clients, customers, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, random people you meet on the street and even family members. The concern is not how to avoid them, but rather how to deal with them in a positive manner. Let’s face it, some people can be very trying and in a perfect world we could ignore them- walk away- or say our peace* unfortunately however, we do not live in a perfect world! Healthfield (2014) states that “how difficult a person is for you to deal with depends on your self-esteem, your self-confidence and your professional courage”. Think a moment about what this means to you personally or professionally. For me this means that I must learn to understand what my limits are in a conversation and I must allow myself to walk away [now and again]. I must learn to not take things that others say or do personally, but rather learn from the interaction so I know how to react the next time. Ask yourself how this might look like for you, how you might interpret this information and overcome the obstacles of dealing with difficult people in a positive manner.
Now I don’t usually [copy and paste] as I would rather that you spend a little time on self awareness and (research) the links that I provide- however I would like to share a list of ideas of how to deal with other’s [dont FRET I will still provide other links for you to check out].
According to SU (2014) some ways to manage dealing with others include,
What would the Dali Lama do if he was in the situation? He would most likely forgive. Remember that at our very core, we are good, but our judgment becomes clouded and we may say hurtful things. Ask yourself, “What is it about this situation or person that I can seek to understand and forgive?”
2. Wait it Out
Sometimes I feel compelled to instantly send an email defending myself. I’ve learned that emotionally charged emails never get us the result we want; they only add oil to the fire. What is helpful is inserting time to allow ourselves to cool off. You can write the emotionally charged email to the person, just don’t send it off. Wait until you’ve cooled off before responding, if you choose to respond at all.
3. “Does it really matter if I am right?“
Sometimes we respond with the intention of defending the side we took a position on. If you find yourself arguing for the sake of being right, ask “Does it matter if I am right?” If yes, then ask “Why do I need to be right? What will I gain?”
4. Don’t Respond
Many times when a person initiates a negative message or difficult attitude, they are trying to trigger a response from you. When we react, we are actually giving them what they want. Let’s stop the cycle of negative snowballing and sell them short on what they’re looking for; don’t bother responding.
5. Stop Talking About It
When you have a problem or a conflict in your life, don’t you find that people just love talking about it? We end up repeating the story to anyone who’ll listen. We express how much we hate the situation or person. What we fail to recognize in these moments is that the more we talk about something, the more of that thing we’ll notice.
Example, the more we talk about how much we dislike a person, the more hate we will feel towards them and the more we’ll notice things about them that we dislike. Stop giving it energy, stop thinking about it, and stop talking about it. Do your best to not repeat the story to others.
6. Be In Their Shoes
As cliché as this may sound, we tend to forget that we become blind-sided in the situation. Try putting yourself in their position and consider how you may have hurt their feelings. This understanding will give you a new perspective on becoming rational again, and may help you develop compassion for the other person.
7. Look for the Lessons
No situation is ever lost if we can take away from it some lessons that will help us grow and become a better person. Regardless of how negative a scenario may appear, there is always a hidden gift in the form of a lesson. Find the lesson(s).
8. Choose to Eliminate Negative People In Your Life
Negative people can be a source of energy drain. And deeply unhappy people will want to bring you down emotionally, so that they are not down there alone. Be aware of this. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands and do not mind the energy drain, I recommend that you cut them off from your life.
Cut them out by avoiding interactions with them as much as possible. Remember that you have the choice to commit to being surrounded by people who have the qualities you admire: optimistic, positive, peaceful and encouraging people. As Kathy Sierra said, “Be around the change you want to see in the world.”
9. Become the Observer
When we practice becoming the observer of our feelings, our thoughts and the situation, we separate ourselves away from the emotions. Instead of identifying with the emotions and letting them consume us, we observe them with clarity and detachment. When you find yourself identifying with emotions and thoughts, bring your focus on your breathe.
10. Go for a Run
… or a swim, or some other workout. Physical exercise can help to release the negative and excess energy in us. Use exercise as a tool to clear your mind and release built up negative energy.
11. Worst Case Scenario
Ask yourself two questions,
- “If I do not respond, what is the worst thing that can result from it?“
- “If I do respond, what is the worst thing that can result from it?“
Answering these questions often adds perspectives to the situation, and you’ll realize that nothing good will come out of reacting. Your energy will be wasted, and your inner space disturbed.
12. Avoid Heated Discussions
When we’re emotionally charged, we are so much in our heads that we argue out of an impulse to be right, to defend ourselves, for the sake of our egos. Rationality and resolution can rarely arise out of these discussions. If a discussion is necessary, wait until everyone has cooled off before diving into one.
13. Most Important
List out things in your life most important to you. Then ask yourself, “Will a reaction to this person contribute to the things that matter most to me?”
14. Pour Honey
This doesn’t always work, but sometimes catches people off guard when they’re trying to “Pour Poison” on you. Compliment the other person for something they did well, tell them you’ve learned something new through interacting with them, and maybe offer to become friends. Remember to be genuine. You might have to dig deep to find something that you appreciate about this person.
15. Express It
Take out some scrap paper and dump all the random and negative thoughts out of you by writing freely without editing. Continue to do so until you have nothing else to say. Now, roll the paper up into a ball, close your eyes and visualize that all the negative energy is now inside that paper ball. Toss the paper ball in the trash. Let it go!
In essence we must first forgive others in order to find peace within ourselves, we must calm down before dealing with a difficult person [hey there is nothing wrong with taking a time out- even as an adult], You don’t always have to have the last word, you also are NOT and DON”T have to be RIGHT all the time- what does it hurt to let it go and not continue to feed into the negativity…? In addition, consider what they other person may be experiencing that day learn compassion for others, Lastly, learn to observe others so you can learn what negative energy and body cues are. Most often you can tell a lot about a person by the way they carry themselves, take the time to BE NICE. Now we all can agree that not every person can be placated but if you learn to deal effectively with others in a positive manner, you can feel good about your own behaviors and feelings!
As promised here are some other links for you to check out to help your figure out how to deal with difficult people,
Heathfeild, S. M. (2014). How to deal with difficult people at work: Why you must deal with difficult people. Retrieved from the About.com Human Resources website: http://humanresources.about.com/od/workrelationships/a/difficultpeople.htm
Su, Y. (2014). Dealing with difficult people. Retrieved from the Think Simple Now a Moment of Clarity website:http://thinksimplenow.com/happiness/dealing-with-difficult-people/