There are people with whom it is very difficult for us to find a common language. But we have to do it. Because they can be our friends, relatives, or work colleagues with whom we are obliged to communicate. Therefore, we have compiled practical tips and rules for you on how to deal with difficult people.
You can use these techniques with your boss, client, family member, and even a stranger. Also keep in mind, the closer your relationship with a person, the more knowledge you will have about what will work best and how you will need to communicate with that particular person. Some of these tips are general, others will be more specific about what to do.
Tips and rules for dealing with difficult people
1. Listen carefully
Listening carefully is the number one step in dealing with difficult people. Everyone wants to be heard. There can be no progress in communication until the other person feels respected. As you listen, focus on what the other person is saying, not what you want to say next.
2. Take it easy
When we talk about how to deal with difficult people, we must first of all remain calm. After all, if the situation becomes emotionally tense, it can be very easy to get angry and start showing negative emotions. In this case, you need to “keep yourself in hand”. Control your emotions and your breathing. Try taking a few slow, deep breaths in and out.
3. Don’t judge a person
You may not fully know what the other person has experienced and how they are feeling now. Chances are, if he is acting unreasonably, then it is likely that he feels some kind of vulnerability or fear. Therefore, express understanding to such a person, regardless of how he treats you. Showing contempt will not help you effectively resolve a conflict situation.
4. Don’t push him
For example, if you tell a man or woman who is upset about something to calm down, it will make them even more angry. Instead, ask the person why they are upset and let them “pour themselves out”. Besides, the phrase “I understand” usually makes the situation worse. Instead, you can say, “Tell me more about your concerns so that I can / may better understand your situation.”
5. Do not create a smile that is not genuine.
The next tip for dealing with difficult people is to avoid fake smiles, as this will look like you are bullying the person. Likewise, humor and hidden jokes, which in most cases cheer you up. But with a difficult person, it is risky and can backfire.
6. Don’t take it personally
Naturally, we do not like it when a person says nasty things or things that you know are not true. In this situation, many want to somehow protect themselves, which leads to a quarrel. But the other person may be so emotionally agitated that it doesn’t help, but only complicates the situation. Therefore, try not to get involved with difficult people in conflicts.
Always remember that raising your voice, pointing the finger, or talking disrespectfully with another person will only “add fuel to the fire.” Better to use a low, calm, even monotone voice. Let the person speak and then speak.
7. Do not try to convince the person of anything.
Your instinct may be to try to calm the other person down, or to convince them of something by placing your hand on their shoulder, or some other similar gesture that might be appropriate in other contexts. But with difficult people, it won’t work. Therefore, avoid friendly touching, as this can be misinterpreted.
It is only important that your compliment is sincere, not feigned. It can be a compliment about clothing, hair, or something else. It can be a compliment about what the person has done. For example, you might say, “You did your job well. Well done!”
9. Show gratitude
Be grateful and express gratitude when someone does something good for you. Let the person know that you value their kindness. When you value other people, they will value you.
10. Call the person by name
Another good advice on how to deal with difficult people is to call the person by their first name.
“Remember that a person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound to him.” Dale Carnegie
This means that people love to hear when their names are called during a conversation, even if it is in a raised voice. When you call a person’s name during a conversation, he feels that you respect him, it is also a sign that you care about him. It has also been shown that many relationships between spouses, family members, and friends, where names were rarely used, generally ended in failure.
If you want to communicate effectively with someone, then during a conversation, call his name as often as possible.
11. Put others’ needs ahead of yours
Sometimes we have to sacrifice and put the needs of others ahead of our own. But there is nothing wrong with that. This means that you care about other people. It can be anything, your help, support, or just time to listen to someone.
12. Listen to your instincts
If your intuition says that you had better stop talking with this person, or completely break off relations with him. Then take the courage and do it. To stay mentally safe, be prepared to do what your heart tells you. Don’t be afraid to look for an exit strategy.
13. Set limits and boundaries
While some of the tips above on how to deal with difficult people encourage listening to the person so they can speak up, you also have the right to be respected. Therefore, when a man or woman oversteps all the legal boundaries, say the following: “Please do not talk to me like that.”
14. Don’t forget to relieve stress
After dealing with difficult people, negative feelings and emotions can build up in you, so you need to get rid of them. Try to discharge the accumulated adrenaline in every possible way. Go outside or in the park and go for a run, get your dog and go for a walk. In general, don’t let negative emotions remain in your body.
You should remember that one answer does not fit all cases. Therefore, you must remain flexible in any situation. And despite the fact that these recommendations have proven to be effective, and help to communicate with difficult people. But you must always remember that each person is unique and may react to certain words in different ways. Therefore, again, listen to the person more, and plan your further actions based on his stories.