How to successfully deal with difficult people and feel good

Difficult people do exist, even if just in our minds. Difficult people come in every variety and can be colleagues, partners, family members, clients or strangers. How difficult a person is for us to deal with mainly depends on our own self-esteem, our self-confidence, our self-awareness and our courage.

No matter where we go, we will face people who are negative, people who oppose our ideas, people who annoy us or people who simply do not like us. People trigger our emotions and our emotions activate our basic survival instinct: to react and attack or hide.

Patterns for hiding may include delaying or avoiding dealing with difficult people, making sympathetic noises when other people are affected - but doing little else, thinking it's you, not them.

The other option of course is to fight it out, and show them who is boss by becoming aggressive, ironic or sarcastic yourself, pointing out their faults and shortcomings, ignoring their wishes, making no attempt to understand their point of view, label them crazy.

The least aware we are of how our emotions are triggered, the more likely we are to be controlled by them.

During my years as Manager, Therapist and Coach I worked with thousands of people and can say that the truly difficult ones were far and few in between. Solutions could usually be found. I came to realize that my own attitude played a key role in how successful I was and also in how I felt during and after the process.

The first question I started to ask myself was:

What makes this person or situation difficult for you to deal with?

Top of my list were: taking things personally, wanting to have control, being judgmental, resenting or resisting the other person’s behavior, feeling superior to them, feeling unable to relate and of course fear.

And as I am a great believer in making life easy, I focused my attention on finding solutions. Life is much too valuable to spend our time feeling frustrated, miserable, angry or stressed.

I have a total of 10 tips of how to successfully deal with difficult people and still feel good about your self in the process.

Below I have listed the TOP 5. I will share the remaining 5 with you in my November newsletter.

Tip 1- Reframe

Instead of thinking difficult, think challenge. Treating difficult people or situations as a challenge is invigorating and will lead you to be more creative and focus your attention on solutions rather then on the problem.

Tip 2 - Leave your EGO behind

Many conflicts are battles of EGOs, wanting to be right, acknowledged, heard, considered or admired are human traits. However it is impossible to solve conflicts when both parties want to come out on top. Stop imposing your views on others. Listen and step back and you will move forward.

Tip 3 - Depersonalize

Behavior is not personal. People’s behavior has rarely anything to do with you. People act a certain way because this is how they are. Their behavior is simply a reflection on how they feel in general and not on how they feel about you. Stay objective and deal with the issue not with the person.

Tip 4 - Understand Fear

So called 'Difficult people' frequently behave the way they do out of some sort of fear. See if you can identify their fear and help them overcome it. At the same time check if your reactions are motivated by fear too. Look for signs of being defensive, negative or overcritical.

Tip 5 – Be Practical

If you cannot change the situation, live with it. Simply decide to not stress about what cannot be changed. Or let go of the person or situation by simply recognizing that this may be better for all involved.

In Part 2 I will share with you my additional five tips of dealing with difficult people. Included will also be a section on the benefits of developing your Emotional Intelligence to help you manage yourself and others more effectively.

For coaching on how to better deal with your own difficult people or for information on related workshops feel free to contact me directly.

With my best wishes to Your Success,


Author:. Christiane specialises in coaching Executives and their teams with managing change, achieving their objectives and developing their soft skills for lasting success.She is an EMCC accredited Leadership Coach & Mentor with a professional background of over 25 years experience as Senior Manager in internat... Go Deeper | Website

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