The guy at the grocery store closes the aisle just as you walk up with your cart. Your co-worker embarrasses you in front of the big cheese. Your so-called best friend hasn't been returning your calls. All frustrating but before you start screaming, here's some advice from Marty Brounstein, author of "Communicating Effectively For Dummies". He says, when a situation is uncomfortable, people tend to have one of two reactions. They either back away or come out swinging and overreact. Neither of those are great ways to handle a difficult situation so here are some suggestions from the book: The Dos and Don'ts of dealing with difficult people:
- Don't: Take it personally. If one of your co-workers is a mean, insulting back-stabber, remember that difficult people often behave the same with everyone. When you think it's just you, you take it personally, get emotional, and lose the ability to think logically.
- Also, don't go on the attack yourself. When you need to tell someone how you feel, don't act out of frustration. Don't use the words, "You always..." or "You never...". Stay calm and keep your comments brief.
- One last Don't for difficult people don't give them a taste of their own medicine. They won't get it. So if your friend won't return your calls, don't wait around for her to call, fuming silently. Send an email or drop by to see what's going on.
- Do choose your battles. If you get cut off in traffic, take a deep breath and blow it off. But if you have a long-standing problem with someone, try to work on a resolution.
- Also, do avoid dwelling on the problem. Instead, focus on the solution.
- Another do for difficult people: acceptance! Accept that that's just the way they are. Some people are ornery by nature and it's your choice to hang out with them. It takes two to argue.