10 Ways to Deal with Difficult People
By Mike Martin

We may always have difficult people in our lives but we don't need to let their negative energy dominate our lives at home or at work. We can try and change them but that would truly be difficult. The easier and softer way is to change ourselves and our attitudes towards them. Here are ten suggestions to deal with the difficult people in your life.

1. Love not Fear
A truly difficult person fears no one. Try love instead. Love means small acts of kindness without any expectation of being rewarded. Love means a smile in the morning and a good bye at night. Love means asking how are you? and actually waiting to hear the answer.

2. Use their Eyes
Instead of looking at the person and seeing mean and surly, practice using their eyes and imagine that you are looking out into the world. What do you see when you look out through their eyes. Sometimes we do not see how damaged the person really is and how the world treats them. It may just give an insight as to how we can better deal with the situation.

3. Serenity Prayer
The serenity prayer will be familiar to anyone who is familiar to recovery programs. If you are not comfortable with the word God, then just ask for the serenity to not let this person screw up your day. Use it as a timeout and then go for a little walk.

4. Listening
Most people like to listen to the sound of their own voice. When it comes to other people they have a transmitter but no receiver. Men in particular have a problem with this. Sometimes if you are really quiet and listen the answer will come to you.

5. Ask Questions
Sorry, guys another one for you. Almost all men and lots of women don’t ask questions and yet assume that they know the answer. Duh!! Even if you’re afraid try asking questions directly of your difficult person. What’s the worst that can happen, they’re already intolerable.

6. Stop trying to figure out why
So you’ve tried listening and asking questions and that didn’t work. Why not stop trying to figure this out and simply take some action. A child sees a gate and tries to go over, under, around or through. They don’t sit and ponder why is the gate there or who put it there or what factors led to the creation of this gate. They move. So what are you waiting for?

7. Seek Inside Help
Seek help-inside your workplace/organization. Why do we sit and stew and talk to all our friends and our counselor and our coach instead of doing something? Go to your boss, or his boss then her boss. Been there before? Go again. You are now the one with the problem.

8. Seek Outside Help
Get counseling, get a coach, buy a book, take a course, surf the web. There are free and paid programs happening every night of the week in your community and on the internet. Don’t let yourself get any sicker because your difficult person is acting up again.

9. Stop Resisting and Accept
This person may never change but you can. Accept the person and situation as exactly what it is. Stop fighting with yourself. Stop Resisting. What we resist persists. Find a practice that allows you to be serene amidst the chaos. Serenity is calm within the storm.

10. The Gambler
Know when to walk away. Sometimes it just isn’t worth it. The job, the money, the prestige, whatever you are receiving from your employment just isn’t worth the aggravation that you are going through. If you have practiced all of the first nine ways and are still bothered by this behaviour to the point where you are ill, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, then take a long look at where you are. If it is unlikely to change then make a plan to transfer/leave at the end of the year and walk away.

Author's Bio: 

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant specializing in workplace wellness and conflict resolution. He is the author of "Change the Things You Can" (Dealing with Difficult People). For more information about Mike please visit: