We all have difficult people in our lives, and unfortunately, we must deal with them to get things done in life. It can be your ex, your parents or your in-laws. It could be your employer, employees or co-workers. Sometimes it’s the store cashier, the customer service agent or another customer. It can be your own children. The fact is, bad situations can be made worse by difficult people, and difficult people can get worse depending on how we choose to interact with them. Would it be helpful if you knew exactly how to deal with difficult people?

Why are difficult people difficult? For some, their life experience has taught them that being difficult protects them from becoming a victim to someone else’s anger. Others actually find fun in making your life miserable. Sometimes, the difficult person is just angry in that moment and is taking it out on you. Still others are just genuinely miserable people who don’t know any other way to be. And then there are those that feel a sense of power by making things difficult for you just because they know they can. Whatever the reason, here are your 6 ways to deal with difficult people in a spiritually balanced way.

1. Ask them, “Did I do something to upset you” as soon as you see them getting difficult

For the individual that is mad at something else, they will immediately realize that their anger is not your fault and will apologize. For a stickler for process, they’ll tell you what they need in order to help you out. If its family, they may begin to vent as to what’s really bothering them. Basically, this question will snap a somewhat rational person out being difficult if they aren’t normally a difficult person.

2. Remain calm yet assertive

By remaining calm, you don’t allow yourself to get riled up. Someone who is being difficult on purpose wants to get you frustrated and upset. They feed off of that energy and become even more difficult. Therefore, the more upset you are, the more you are giving them what they want. Don’t go there. Decide that regardless of what they say or do, you will remain calm and mannerly. This is the spiritual way, and with difficult people, this is your spiritual test! Also, remain assertive. Let them know that you will continue to respect them and they have no reason not to provide the same in return.

3. Respond, don’t react

Reaction is when someone says or does something, and you immediately catch the emotion and give it back to them without though. Response is when someone says or does something, and you stop and think about the best way to respond before doing so. When you react, you’ll cause even more problems from how you reacted than from the original problem. You’ll “escalate” the emotions, and therefore escalate the problem. When you respond, you have the ability to prevent additional problems and do a better job of bringing the difficult person down an emotional peg or two. You’ll “de-escalate” the emotions and move towards resolution. If you need to, don’t respond right away. Walk away from the situation and then respond when you are in a better state of mind.

4. Learn their buttons, and don’t push them

If you have to deal with the same difficult person over time, learn what buttons make them go into difficult mode, and don’t push them. Learn also how they need to receive information and work with them on terms that are acceptable for both of you. Ask them what the best way is to make their job easier, and work with them from that level. If it’s family, you typically know the buttons already. Rather than pushing those buttons, deal with your family member from love, appreciation and trust.

5. Leave

If at the end of the day, this person is trying everything possible to make you miserable, and you aren’t getting what you need from them, leave. Walk away. Deal with someone else. If this is a relationship and things are extreme, you may need to consider removing them from your life. If this is an employer, you may want to begin looking for a new position or starting your own business. If this is a store clerk or another customer service individual, ask to deal with someone else or take your money elsewhere. You deserve to be treated with respect and not verbally abused by anyone. If you’ve tried the high road and it didn’t work, it’s time to hit the road and “be out”.

6. Report them

As a last resort, if you’ve been mannerly, kind, and clear in your needs, and you MUST deal with that individual, you may need to report them. Speak to their supervisor, report your boss to human resources, tell someone in your family that can assist, etc. Be clear that a customer is being lost because of the behavior of their representative. Give feedback to human resources or your boss’ boss as to exactly why you are leaving and how you were treated. You may need to file a restraining order against an ex, and with issues with ex’s and children, you may have to re-involve the courts so that your agreement is upheld.

Unfortunately, we are met with various levels of difficult people everyday. As a spiritual individual, you should always be prepared to give everyone the respect they deserve. When that respect is not being returned, try to determine what can be done to make things right. If that individual is going to be difficult because they can be, find someone else to deal with or leave. If that’s not an option, report their behavior to someone that can make a difference. If nothing else, difficult people are great tests to your ability to remain calm and strong under pressure, to respect those that aren’t respecting you, and to let others know what’s going on when all else fails. You’ll find that most difficult situations are quickly corrected with a little understanding and a big smile. The others can be quickly corrected by reporting the problem and being able to say with all honesty that you were completely respectful, didn’t raise your voice unnecessarily, and were kind in the face of a truly difficult person.

Author's Bio: 

James LeGrand is the Author of "Evolve!", an Amazon.com best seller in Religion and Spirituality. He is also the publisher of SpiritualIndividual.com, a free weekly newsletter that presents solutions to life’s issues through the lens of self-help, wisdom, philosophy and spirituality. In addition, James LeGrand is a Life Strategist, an Expert Author with SelfGrowth.com & EzineArticles.com, a former Radio Personality, a Fortune 500 Vice President, and a Sifu in Shaolin Kungfu, which has been known for centuries as a pathway to spiritual enlightenment.