How To Deal With Difficult People
Have you ever had a meeting with someone and the more you talked, the angrier and less co-operative they became? You felt frustrated because you had some fantastic points to make and you genuinely believed you could add value to their life. However, for every great statement you made, they had an objection.
These are the people we label as ‘difficult’ and they are everywhere. You will know friends who are ‘difficult’, co-workers and maybe even members of your family. If you have ever had to deal with a stroppy teenager, you will understand precisely what I am talking about.
What you have to be aware of is, despite how it appears they are not ‘bad’ people or doing it to make your life difficult deliberately. They are what we call internal thinkers; they are taking the vast majority of their data from themselves.
Internal mindset = difficult
This means that they don’t much care for your opinion and the fact that you are all flowery and creative with the information they don’t need irritates them beyond belief.
I believe we see this ‘difficult’ streak in teenagers because they switch from needing the advice and guidance of their parents to wanting to be independent.
I used to get so frustrated trying to help my daughter when she turned 13 years old. She would point blank ignore me, insisting that she knew better. I tried to use the logic that only one of us in the conversation has the experience of being 13 years old before, but it just made her behave more obnoxiously.
Most teenagers grow out of this phase, some quickly and others it takes a painfully long time. Learn how to deal with difficult people is a massive asset to any parent, trust me on this!
Dealing with difficult people doesn’t mean they are bad
The difficult people you meet, who you may end up labelling as ‘just an asshole’, in reality, are probably no different to you. They are just expressing themselves differently and are closed to external input.
We all have areas where this holds true.
For example the US at the moment you will find people furious at the presidency of Donald Trump. However, you will also find equally passionate and vocal people who think he’s doing a great job. If you put these two sorts of people in the same room it is highly unlikely they are going to leave as friends.
Neither party wants to listen to the other side, they are too firmly dug into their own internal position.
Difficult people are everywhere, sorry!
The same is true in the UK around the thorny subject of Brexit.
Many people, myself included are extremely against the prospect of the United Kingdom leaving Europe. We see as an illogical decision born out of low-level racism and stupidity.
Sadly, if you put a pro Brexit support in the same room as a ‘remainer’ there is going to be trouble. You can’t change someone’s mind by telling them that they are wrong. This issue even exists in my own family. My father is a pro Brexiteer, if ask him to defend his position the veins in his neck start to swell even before he starts speaking.
When I listen to him speak on the matter I feel that 99% of what he believes is nonsense he has been fed by the nasty right ring newspaper he reads.
How To Deal With Difficult People
If he wasn’t my father I would probably just walk away and forever label him an ‘asshole’. However, I know this man and the kind, caring soul that lays beneath. So, we simply don’t talk about the subject, because I think we both know that we are never going to change the opinion of the other person.
So, how do you deal with a problematic person like this, someone who has closed you down and doesn’t want to listen to reason? The best thing you can do is ask them what they want.
Don’t flog a dead horse, dump the spiel and pretty presentation – they don’t care.
Give people what they need
They are thinking internally and not looking for external input. The chances are they are only talking to you because they believe you might be able to serve a purpose. If you want results with ‘difficult’ people just cut the crap and ask them what problem they have that you can help alleviate.
It may not be the way you prefer to communicate or do business, but you don’t have to marry them, get in and get out and you will both end up a lot happier.
This approach has multiple layers of benefits. Firstly, it reduces the amount of time you have to spend with difficult people, it allows you to meet the needs of your client quickly and efficiently and it is a huge time saver.
A time saver at the office
If you are a manager you will be acutely aware just how many time thieves there are about the place. They usually knock on your office door and start the dialogue with ‘Have you got 5 minutes”?
They are all set to vent about someone or something that has upset them.
It never takes just 5 minutes and it sucks the positive out of you. Instead of letting them blow off steam at your expense, stop them dead in their tracks and simply ask ‘what can I do to help you’? It disarms them and renders there pre-prepared spewing of venom obsolete at the same time.
There are huge advantages to learning how to deal with difficult people quickly and easily.
Learning what makes people tick
Are you ready to take it beyond learning how to deal with difficult people and up to the next level? Learning to love yourself and unlocking your full potential in life is not just about you. How you interact and communicate with other people is another powerful area of focus.
If you can understand what makes people tick (including yourself) it becomes much easier to go get the life that you want.
More than that, you can actually have other people go get it for you!