One of the challenges of everyday life remains dealing with a difficult person. For the sake of clarity, we must distinguish him from the impossible person, the emotional terrorist. In a recent video, I came to the conclusion that there’s no way you can deal with this type of person because it’s a no-win situation. The impossible person thrives on opposition and handles all the issues in his life in an adversarial way. He or she never achieves success in relationships.
My main goal in writing about the impossible person was to discourage you from dealing with him or her. I know I may have disappointed some of you when I revealed that there aren’t any effective strategies in interacting with this type of person except to get away as fast as possible. Fortunately, it’s different with a person who is just difficult.
The difficult person is difficult, but not impossible to communicate with. If you learn some effective strategies in human relations you can actually achieve some success when dealing with this type of person.
Here are 3 effective strategies you can begin using immediately to improve your relationship with a difficult person.
Seek to Understand
Have you ever heard of Stephen Covey? He says “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” This is critically important when dealing with a difficult person. Many people become difficult because they think the world doesn’t understand them. They ask themselves “Will anyone ever understand me?” I’m sure you felt at times that nobody understands anything about you or where you’re coming from.
Now this is important. If you show some understanding toward this type of person, he or she becomes somewhat easy to handle. You will astound others by the fact that you’re getting along so well with him. If this person is your boss, you could accelerate your career to new heights. In a personal relationship, you could develop a valuable ally or an exciting marriage partner.
Still, you must remember that you don’t have to take anybody’s crap. It’s important for your self-esteem if you remember to walk away from someone who acts abusive towards you.
You may be wondering how you can possibly understand the inner workings of a difficult person much less get along with him. The solution is that you discover understanding by asking them questions. You show interest in him or her as a unique individual.
Showing Interest by Asking Questions
If you show interest in a difficult person by asking questions, you’re assuaging their ego. You’ve probably noticed a difficult person possesses a big ego, especially if he or she has acquired a position of power. By the way this is one of the big differences between an impossible person, the emotional terrorist and a difficult person. The impossible person gets angry if you ask them questions because they figure you’re prying for info just to get something over on them. You stroke the the difficult person’s ego when you ask questions that involve subjects and activities that interest him.
Sadly, there are also people who are difficult because they allowed their self-esteem to sink down to the basement floor. The unhappy man or woman swims hopelessly in the polluted pool of misery, frustration and despair. When you interact with this type of person you have to make sure none of their negativity, unhappiness and misery rubs off on you. You definitely don’t want them to deplete your energy level.
Anyway, asking the low self-esteem person questions often makes them feel important. Gee, somebody is actually interested in little ole’ me. They think maybe I’m worth while after all. When you lift someone’s spirit you are also lifting your own.
Ask questions and listen intently with interest. If it’s appropriate to make a comment, pause for a few seconds then speak. The person you are interacting with will know that you’re interested in what they are saying.
Become Indispensable – Getting Them to Rely on You
I learned this lesson years ago when I was working in an optical lab making glasses. They brought in a new General Manager to get the store in top working order before they changed it into a one-hour store. He was tough and precise in what he wanted accomplished and he didn’t tolerate laziness or incompetence. Before long some employees were whining and moaning about how difficult he was.
I realized he was tough, but I also realized he knew what he was doing. You wouldn’t believe how much I appreciate competence, or maybe you would. Unfortunately, I fell out of favor with some of my fellow employees. In fact, they began riding me pretty hard.
Finally, I reached my breaking point. I went in the General Manager’s office and told him I was at the receiving end of a lot of negativity and that some of my co-workers referred to me as a butt-kisser. Now I’m an individualist so this was rather difficult to take. I actually felt like kicking some butt. Anyway, he told me that I was doing a great job and to hang in there. He said that in the next couple of weeks he was making some important changes.
The following Saturday when I arrived at work the National Lab Supervisor and the General Manager offered me a job as the manager of their first one-hour lab. Of course, I accepted.
As you can see motivated-get the job done types can be rather difficult because they don’t accept any nonsense. However, they believe in trading value for value. If you let them know you’re on their side and back it with hard, competent work you acquire an ally. Although this type of person is often difficult and demanding, he or she is always thrilled to discover they have a hard working, motivated person working for them. Since they can’t do it all themselves, they start relying on you.
The more types of people you can get along with the more successful you become. If you’re going to experience pleasure and fulfillment in your life, you must expand your horizons. You will always place success within your reach when you learn how to deal with different types of people.
RA Meyer – Master the Social Maze
P.S. For mind-expanding videos visit http://socialmazevideo.org/