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10 Practical Ways To Dealing With Difficult People Anywhere

10 Practical Ways To Dealing With Difficult People Anywhere

Whether you’re dealing with a rude customer, an unfair neighbor, or a demanding boss, it can be hard to know how to deal with difficult people. Here are some strategies you can employ to reduce your stress and increase the likelihood that you’ll leave the situation feeling okay.

1. Listen to What They Have to Say

Often, a willingness to listen can go a long way when you’re wondering how to deal with difficult people. Allow difficult people to share their opinion. Show that you’re willing to listen by making eye contact, asking questions, and showing an interest in what they have to say.

2. Place a Time Limit on How Long They Can Vent

Listening, however, doesn’t mean you have to listen for hours on end. Instead, place a time limit on how long you’re willing to listen to difficult people vent. Allowing them to repeat themselves over and over isn’t likely to be helpful in diffusing the situation.

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Make it clear that you’ve heard what they have to say and that you don’t want to be subjected to hearing all their complaints over and over. Instead, try to move the conversation forward in a direct, yet polite manner.

3. Don’t Simply Agree with Everything They Say

Don’t simply nod in agreement to everything difficult people say. Otherwise, they’ll think you’re on the same page. Instead, be willing to say that you disagree, but do so in a respectful manner.

4. Speak Up to Share Your Point of View

It’s important to speak up at a fairly early point in the conversation to make it clear that you share a different point of view. Avoid interrupting, but instead, find a break in the conversation to say, “This is the way I see it.” Then explain your point.

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5. Stick to the Facts

Learning how to deal with difficult people often means sticking to the facts. Avoid saying subjective things such as, “You shouldn’t have…” or “That was way out of line.” Instead, state the facts and remain as objective as possible about the order of events.

6. Work the Solution

Avoid focusing on the problem for too long. There’s no need to place blame, rehash over and over why it was wrong, or just repeatedly point out the negative. Take responsibility for your behavior and then direct the conversation toward a solution.

Suggest several possible ways to solve the problem. Invite difficult people to do the same. Try to look for a solution that everyone can agree on.

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7. Behave Respectfully

No matter how difficult the conversation gets, maintain respectful behavior at all times. You can’t control how the other person behaves or reacts, but you can control your own behavior. Leave the conversation being able to hold your head high, knowing you conducted yourself in the most professional manner possible.

8. Agree to Disagree

Sometimes you won’t be able to agree on a solution and it makes sense to simply agree to disagree. If you’re both on opposite sides of the fence and neither of you are interested in changing your minds, there’s no need to waste time trying to convince one another to think differently.

9. Don’t Cave to Every Demand

Just because difficult people become demanding or aggressive, doesn’t mean you need to do what they say. In fact, giving in can reinforce their tactics. Be willing to say no when difficult people make unreasonable demands.

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10. End the Conversation if Necessary

If the conversation gets ugly, be prepared to end it. Don’t allow someone to become threatening or verbally abusive. Instead, make it clear you aren’t willing to hold conversations with people who treat you in a disrespectful manner.

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Amy Morin

A psychotherapist, psychology instructor, keynote speaker, and the author of the bestselling book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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