Dealing with difficult people

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Dealing with difficult people

Imagine this scenario: You're heading into the office but you're feeling anxious and stressed about walking through the door. It's not because you don't love your job, it's because of Suzzy.  She constantly provokes and angers you and seems to know exactly which buttons to press to get you to your boiling point. To be quite honest, you're not quite sure how you can keep coping with the stress caused by her behaviour and how it will affect your business development.




Everyone has their own reasons and motivations for their behaviour. It's usually helpful to know how to react to their negative behaviour.There are several strategies you can use with difficult individuals. It's a good idea to assess your own situation carefully to determine which technique will work best for you.

1. Review the situation:

Before you take any action, take a step back and evaluate what has happened. Is this normal behaviour or is this person having a bad day? If it is typical behaviour it may be worth doing something about it. If it's unusual behaviour it would probably be a better idea to stay out of the individual's way for the rest of the day.

2. Calmly confront the individual:

There is a chance that this individual doesn't know how his/her actions /behaviour makes you feel. It's good practice to confront this behaviour in private. Explain what is bothering you and the solution you are aiming for. It is important to tell the person how you feel.

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3. Don't fight/retreat:

If the other person is being aggressive, he/she is probably expecting you to retaliate. Remember to stay calm and to speak plainly about his/her actions. Don't be tempted to speak again, many people are really uncomfortable with silence. This was especially true with a situation I experienced with a nightmare neighbour. Playing the 'silence is the best medicine' game proved to be a game changer.

4. Use behaviour modification:

A good example of behaviour modification is dog training - such as rewarding a dog for positive behaviour. Ignore negative behaviour. The same can be used with difficult people. Use positive statements when the individual acts in a positive manner.

5. Speak to a manager:

If all else fails it may be worth speaking to a manager. Explain the situation and the solution you are looking for. Explain the steps you have taken and how the individual has reacted to your actions to try to resolve and diffuse the situation.

6. Let it go:

If you have tried all the avenues and all else fails, it may be a great idea to block the person out of your life completely. Cancel any contact whatsoever. This is not you giving up, it is you being the better person and creating an emotionally stable environment. Dealing with difficult people either in your workplace or socially can be a daunting task. It is important to keep calm and stand your ground.Hold people accountable for their actions.

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