The easiest thing to do is to run away from difficult people, but it’s also often the weakest option available to you. Who should you define as difficult people? They’re the ones who are hard to live, work or just co-exist with. They often bring out the worst in us by touching our deepest wounds through their attitudes and actions. But you can learn to survive and even thrive in your encounters with difficult people by reading the actionable tips below:
1. Appreciate the difficult people in your life
This is one of the hardest steps, but it’s also one of the most necessary. It’s easy to despair over those who make your life more challenging, but you have to learn to take comfort in all you can learn from your interactions with them. Treat difficult people like one of life’s tests, which, if it doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Your dealings with them, while often not pleasant, will help you build a resilience against other obstacles the world might put in your path. That inner strength will stick with you long after you and the difficult person in your life part ways.
2. Enable the difficult people to bring out the best in you
As mentioned above, a difficult person is often someone who brings out the worst in us, either in our behavior, our state of mind or something else that affects us deeply. But, if the worst of you comes out in a difficult person’s presence, you have the opportunity to face those demons head-on. You can confront the harmful parts of your psyche by using difficult people as bait to lure them out. For example, if a co-worker chats and gossips all day while you’re hard at work, you’re probably going to become upset with them. But by making yourself accept that their actions are not your issue and letting go, you obtain a powerful meditative quality. Even if a difficult person never changes, you will still benefit in some way from the strife they cause you.
3. Spend more time with them
Instead of running away from your problems, it might be best to actually take a few steps in the direction of what’s causing you agony. Even if someone’s challenging you and adding stress to your life, sometimes they’re only difficult in your eyes because you’re expecting something they can’t deliver or setting unrealistic expectations for them. One way to shake those expectations is by getting to know them a little bit better. Perspective is everything, so learn about their circumstances and their point of view to better understand where they’re coming from.
4. Set a goal
It’s always important, but goal setting is absolutely paramount when you’re dealing with difficult people. You need to decide in advance what you want to get out of your experiences with those difficult people. That could be something as simple as not being depressed or discouraged by their negative attitudes, or something more difficult like turning their attitudes around. Whatever your goal, always keep it in mind when dealing with difficult people.
5. Try to make their lives less difficult
Sometimes people are difficult for a pretty obvious reason: they’ve faced a lot of adversity in their life. That adversity might be mental, emotional, physical, and so on, but whatever their struggles, you might be able to help them cope in a more healthy manner. Follow the Golden Rule of treating others as you want to be treated, even if they’re not doing the same in return. The difficult people in life might never reciprocate the good will you’ve shown them, but that’s just gravy. You’ll find yourself happier and more at peace just through taking the higher ground when dealing with difficult people.