Beyond the Reading

Beyond the Reading: Difficult People

Whether we work with them or are related to them (or we are them?…gasp), we’ve all experienced that difficult person. We’re talking about the one that makes our eyes roll, the one that makes us keep quiet and cross our fingers. They come around and we brace ourselves for the onslaught of negativity and ego.

Today’s reading is a reminder that we will be interacting with difficult people regardless of where we go or what we do. But when we are around people that are demanding and seemingly never satisfied, it’s exhausting. Every interaction is a difficult two-step of avoidance and defusion. For those of us that don’t have the luxury of just cutting people out of our lives, what options do we have?

Markway (2015) lists several actions we can take in 20 Expert Tactics for Dealing with Difficult People. While we are probably already instinctively doing some of these things like staying quiet and just listening or attempting to remain calm, what stands out from the list is – don’t judge.

Maybe it’s just us, but judging is probably the number one thing we would do, quietly but nonetheless, which brings up an interesting point of view. We never know what someone else is actually going through. If someone is “being difficult” there’s usually a reason for it. Sometimes people just need to vent, let it all out, and have someone listen.

So the next time you are interacting with a difficult person, react with kindness and understanding…or don’t, maybe you need to scream too – you do you. There’s no judgement here.

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