In my line of work, I work with a dynamic team and many of these people have their unique personalities. Some are introverted, some are extroverted, some are passive/aggressive and many of them are good team players. This blog entry is not about the team players. It’s about the difficult people in your life and how to deal with them.
I was reading one of my favorite blogs Dumb little man – Tips for life and came across a great article that everyone should read. The blog posting hits it on the nail on the types of difficult people and how to deal with them.
In my daily life, my own family has stated many times, that Dad is indeed one of those difficult people both at work and at home.. Initially I didn’t want to admit it, but as I get older I realize that my DNA and tendencies to tend to swing towards the sarcastic and the difficult side. I tend to have rather sharp sense of humor which can be construed as being difficult, but most of the time, being direct can also be construed as being difficult. I guess that in a nutshell wraps up my personality.
I personally think that you are a product of your environment be it from your childhood (a huge factor in my case) as well as the levels of dysfunction that surrounds you.
In retrospective, if I didn’t utilize my unique brand of humor, I’m certain that:
- I’d be in a insane asylum – Many think that I belong there anyway
- I’d be totally introverted – Actually growing up, I was introverted, but after my teenage years and after I graduated from college, this introverted nature took a back seat to me just “going with the flow and enjoying msyelf”. Many don’t believe how really introverted I was as most of my current life is as a leader and prolific communicator both at work and at home.
- My defense mechanisms would be totally shot and I’d be in years and years of deep psychotherapy – Trusty me, I’ve already gone down this road mildly over the past few years!
- I’d be single and never be married with great kids and be referred to as Dad’s Taxi!
My question to each one you is, what makes a person difficult? DNA or environment or just self preservation? Personally I think it’s a percentage of both. In my case I can say that it’s all of these 3 for certain!
As I read the article that I linked to below, one thing that struck me is that you have to understand the following factors of acknowledging difficult people:
- Recognize Difficult People – this is tough..Do you know your personal type and are you aware of what is your personality type? Are you passive or are you aggressive. Are you in synch with your own personality and what are your tendencies to handle confrontation? What’s your tendency? “Fight or Flight?”Many difficult also people hide be thin veils of armor that are not apparent till you really get to know them. Some are easily seen after a few encounters, and of course some are readily visible after the first meeting.
- Communications– What is your style of communications? Are you direct, opaque or do you communicate with a clarity? What is your tone and body language when you deal with a difficult. I know for me.. My tone of voice can be construed as being difficult a majority of times when I’m dealing with what I define as others being difficult. Is that convoluted enough for you? Do you believe in building relationships or alliances even with the most obstinent person? From what I’ve seen, you need to walk the fine line an and find out what exactly makes this person tick. What is their motivation?Consider how you can communicate verbally and through body language in the most effective way with these different types of people to build rapport and make them feel understood. I find that many difficult people just are so opaque and cannot communicate with clarity, because of the fear they have of being understood for what they really are.. difficult!
- Triggers – Be proactive once we know who we have conflict with on a regular basis. What this means is if you know you are dealing with a difficult person, don’t be receptacle to their angst emotional upheaval. Think about this.. I guess this equates to “Talk to the hand theory” of problem solving.
- Focus on Strengths and Positives– I find that if I try to find the good in a person, the most difficult person can be a great ally in the long-term. Of course the initial displeasure this person brings to the table has to be dealt with first before you as the recipient can “accentuate the positive, to eliminate the negative”. I find that if I give compliments and recognize them with genuine accolades to a difficult person, they are more likely to let their guard down and build a positive relationship with you. So basically, here I’m advising to build a persons worth instead going full nuclear on a negative person, is a much easier strategy for dealing with a difficult person. Doing this also allows both of you to exert a positive influence on each other via your interaction.As I write this, I’m thinking: Even if you use the tips that I read about, there is no guarantee that a “difficult person” in your life will be any easier to deal with. I think that applying the ideas above, it will make it easy for you to exist and exude some control and rationality in your life!
One of the most important things that I’m learning every day is that I cannot “control my environment” but I can control my own behavior and I try to take baby steps in this direction every day.. I may not succeed every day, but I do move in that direction!
One of the post important lessons I learned was when I watched the 2006 DVD “the Secret”. This DVD taught me that for every ounce of positive energy you exude, the universe will give you back the same dosage and more!
How do you deal with difficult people? I’d like to know as I continue on the path of road of life and figure out myself how to deal with the cards that I work with every day!