Here are a few fantastic tips for dealing with difficult people:
Of course it sounds far fetched, but perhaps you are the problem. Take a moment to ask yourself what it is, specifically, that is bothering you about this difficult person. Have you had this similar problem with anyone in the past?
If there is a possibility that it may just be you, then run it by a close friend. Often times a good friend can offer an accurate judgment of your character if you give them all the necessary information. Remember the old saying by George Herbert: “The best mirror is an old friend.” A friend will help you see yourself.
If you conclude that there is an issue to address in someone else, then do the following steps.
Confront The Person
Confrontation is highly underestimated. It is a powerful experience for both the person confronting and the person being confronted.
To confront, you must be certain of any accusation you are presenting. If you do not have your facts straight, you can bet you are going to receive a challenge. And when you confront, you risk misunderstanding and a possible non-resolution.
Secondly, confrontation is good for the person being confronted unless it is judgemental because, in healthy cases, it helps them to see what they, most likely, cannot see.
If you are going to confront a difficult individual here are a few things to remember:
Write Down What You are Going to Say Before Hand.
You must write down what you want to say. When emotions hit, you may say too much, not enough, or something that makes no sense at all. Make a list of what you want to discuss before your confrontation.
Do Not Go in With Accusations.
An accusation will guarantee you some immediate tension. If you are confronting a difficult person you want to make them aware of how you are feeling first.
“Nancy, I need to talk to you about how I have been feeling lately. I have been experiencing some difficulty working together with you. When we work together I feel put down and belittled by you.”
Most people do not know how they are making others feel. Starting your confrontation with a presentation of your feelings is always a winning move. It immediately softens the person you are confronting.
Take The Hit
The next best thing to do is to assume possible responsibility. Perhaps upon confrontation you will be made aware of an offense that you have caused to the person you are confronting which is the source of your tension. So assume possible responsibility.
“I have been noticing that I have been having some difficulty working together with you. Is there anything I have done to offend you?”
This shows that you are not there to solely blame the other person, but rather you are willing to consider that maybe you too, are difficult to work with.
This may be the most important part. Follow up shows care for the person you confronted. It also shows value for the relationship you are sharing.
Follow up is good in a private setting. Go for coffee or lunch or at least close the office door and get a few moments to chat. Some of your most cherished friendships may start out with a little tension and misunderstanding.
Don’t be afraid of confrontation. It is powerful for both parties and always leads to a greater understanding of others and a greater revelation of truth. Confrontation is one of the most powerful tips for dealing with difficult people.