There is a growing volume of research that shows staying positive is better for your health, you can cope better with stress. Its better for relationships; you keep from judging people and getting into negative talk. It also makes your life more fulfilled; just think of how much of your life is spent working. Being positive, living in the present will give you energy and joy in your life.
But how do you deal with people who are rude or have bad attitude? How do you keep your spirits up when you are surrounded by depressed people or people who complain all the time?
Remember when someone offers a put down, when they cross your boundaries. Your worth comes from you; your being, your true self. They cannot change your intrinsic value unless you let them by giving your power away! Make it clear that what they are doing doesnt work for you, keep your boundaries and move forward.
Boundaries and standards help us to get more energy from life and not be de-energized by the people or events around us; but sometimes, we still get caught in groups of people who don't respect our boundaries or have different standards from ours.
Dealing with difficult people is ... well, difficult for most of us. Hostile and aggressive people put us on the defensive, cause us anxiety, frustrate our coping skills, and take us out of our comfort zones.
Particularly difficult is when those people are within our family or our spouse's or partner's family or the ex's - it goes on and on. Boundary stomping is likely to happen in anyone's life and it's best to plan ahead to deal with groups of people who don't share or respect our boundaries.
Let others know what your boundaries are regarding scheduling, communication, project commitments, etc. and enforce them. Burden, heaviness, and martyrdom come when you allow your boundaries to be overstepped or vetoed.
6 Step Process
I have trained many of my clients the following six step process in dealing with difficult people. These six steps empower my clients to respond in a professional way and escalate the issue in a controlled approach and massively reduce their level of stress. Fill in the blanks according to your specific situation. You might even want to create a cheat sheet for your purse or wallet.
"Are you aware, that when you ................, I feel ..................."
"I request, that you ............."
"What I need from you instead is to respect me by ................"
"You may never treat me disrespectfully by ........! If you choose to continue, I won't agree to ....... anymore."
"I demand you ....... out of respect for my ..........!"
"It's really not okay for me that you're ...... It feels disrespectful to me. I'm open to discussing this with you at a later time if you are interested in continuing to work with me. However, I'm leaving now."
Here are some more ideas for diffusing aggressive behavior and getting your needs met.
- Even if you do deal with life and death, each of us can only do the best we can in each situation. On a regular basis, go outside your normal circles to gain a greater perspective on life. Volunteer at local shelters or with children's groups. Hang out with some different people. Keep rotating this.
- If your identity is too strongly tied to the job you do, that limits your ability to grow and enjoy the ride. Success at work can feel like it's necessary for your survival. Get your needs met outside of work.
- Don't gossip. It only adds negative energy to your life and to the organization.
- Do work you love, of course. It naturally feels lighter than the work you are forcing yourself to do for money or whatever reason.
- Work with people you like. Minimize time with people you don't like. And it's OK not to like some people. Do whatever you need to minimize contact with these people: set boundaries, request to be transferred, etc. You will instantly have more energy and lightness at work.
- Make it a game. Consider life doesn't inherently have meaning. Remember you chose this game, and you might as well enjoy it, or choose another. See it as a big laboratory to experiment, observe and learn from.
- Watch your verbal tone, speed and pitch, body language, and posture. Maintain eye contact. Talking too fast gives away your nervousness in confronting the situation. High pitch and tone comes across as hysteria and emotional, not rational. Eye contact lets the person know that you are expecting resolution.
- Ignore counter-attacks. Avoid responding to the attacks, focus on your message like a broken record. (Nowadays maybe more of a broken CD...)
- Avoid "feeding into" the accusations. You don't need to respond or explain your position; you only need to state it as fact. You want to state your boundaries without having to defend or explain them.
- Subscribe to my monthly newsletter with lots of positive and uplifting thoughts, tips and information for your success at www.CoachKarl.com
Please be aware that this is a new way of behaving for you and that change doesn't happen immediately, so give yourself enough time to learn how to stand up for yourself and to get your boundaries honored.
As you are learning to stand for yourself you are also teaching other people how you expect them to behave around you, so be persistent in helping them understand what you are asking of them.
The people who really care about you will play and support your efforts towards a more successful way of living; the others will vanish out of your life and that's okay and a part of the process. Later you will be surrounded by caring and loving humans who respect, support and honor you and your boundaries. It's never too late to begin!
Your business, career and life success is my passion!
Karl Ruegg, MBA
Phone: (361) 549-3790