Dealing with difficult people

Have you ever had the misfortune of having to deal with someone who just rubbed you up the wrong way?

Perhaps they were being obstructive, negative, overtly challenging, disagreeable, or just plain stubborn. Perhaps them blocking you will result in a cascade of problems that will reflect poorly on your performance.

The temptation is let your hind brain take over and respond back to them in a similar manner. After all, if they are not going to respect you, why should you respect them?

Of course, this is not going to get you anywhere.

What you have to do is respect that person, but not because they deserve it. On the contrary, it’s because your ability to respect difficult people speaks to your own character.

Benjamin Franklin once said:

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.

Dealing with a difficult person can be the ultimate test of mindfulness. It can be easy for the discussion to go off on a tangent of how difficult the other person is being, and how it’s making you feel, to get wrapped up in the drama.

The key is to keep coming back to the issue at hand.

If you find yourself getting wound up, take a break, then come back to it when you are calm. This way you can respond, rather than react.

Finally consider, as Seth Godin once wrote, if you believed what he believes, you’d do precisely what he’s doing.

Understanding the other persons point of view might be difficult, but worth the effort.