Deepak Chopra, spiritual teacher, suggests detachment when dealing with difficult people in the article "How to Deal With Difficult (Even Impossible) People," on Oprah.com. If a person gets under your skin and gives you a hard time, take note of the emotions you are feeling. The most productive thing you can do is avoid reacting when interacting with that person. The non-reaction gives you a clear vision, unclouded by emotion, to deal with this person in a calm, rational manner. It also gives you the best shot at a positive, productive outcome of interactions with this person.
Learning to Deal with Difficult People
Take a hard look at your own behavior, say Rick Kirschner and Rick Brinkman, co-authors of "Dealing with People You Can't Stand." Your own feelings have a lot to do with how you perceive the person who gives you a hard time. If you can tell yourself that he is just doing what he always does and accept that person as he is, you are on the road to changing your own behavior. As you change how you react to this person, he will change how he acts with you or he will find someone else to give a hard time.
Walk away from the difficult person. If this person can't take a hint, walk away for good. Not every problem can be fixed, and staying in an unhealthy situation is not good for anyone. You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you are so fed up that you lose control.
Look in the mirror. Sandra Crowe, author of "Since Strangling Isn't an Option," suggests that you ask yourself what you can learn about yourself through the other person. For example, if your friend irritates you by cancelling your dates at the last minute, remind yourself when scheduling that that might be a possibility again. Mental preparation may prevent you from losing your cool and feeling unnecessary angst if she does cancel again.
Change your perspective. Are you and the other person complete opposites? Try empathizing with the person to gain a glimpse into where he is coming from. Feeling compassion for him may help you understand why he gives you such a hard time. Maybe he doesn't know how to talk to people and targets you because you are open and friendly. Ronna Lichtenberg, author of "Work Would Be Great if It Weren't for the People," states that if you have opposite outlooks, the person who gives you such a hard time may view you as a difficult person.
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- Oprah: How to Deal With Difficult (Even Impossible) People
- Psych Central: Dealing with Difficult People
- Dealing With People You Can't Stand, Revised and Expanded Third Edition: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst; Rick Kirschner and Rick Brinkman; 2012
- Since Strangling Isn't an Option...Dealing with Difficult People - Common Problems and Uncommon Solutions; Sandra A. Crowe; 199
- Work Would Be Great if It Weren't for the People: Making Office Politics Work for You; Ronna Lichtenberg; 1999
Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.
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