My favorite compliment is when friends tell me I am too nice. I really don’t believe there is such a thing. I tend to love unconditionally, but sure some people bug me. I give people latitude because I don’t know their full story. Maybe they are having a bad day. Or, their life journey has left with some unhealed internal wounds.
People, especially the most difficult ones in our lives, give us opportunities to show compassion and grace. Plus, having strong relationships and the ability to manage difficult people is absolutely critical for our wellbeing and success in life.
Even if you are the most easy-going person in the world, there are going to be some people that set your back up into an arch. The odds are very high that you know one or more annoying people that you can not easily avoid.
Just to be sure we are on the same page, do any of these individuals sound familiar?
The Whiner: Even when everything is going well, this person has something negative to say. “Nothing is right. Life is unfair. It’s not my fault. Why me?” This one can be real downer.
The Drama Queen: Similar to the whiner, but a lot more animated. If the slightest challenge arises, this person will be calling the authorities, emailing with hundreds on copy or threatening legal action all while pacing the floor quite wildly.
The Know It All: No matter the topic this one has a very long story to tell about the in depth knowledge they have accrued. If they are a top tier player, they make up very specific statistics to back up their supposed impressive knowledge.
The Bragger: This person loves themselves (or do they?) They have no time for your input as there are so many personal accolades they need to share. Often, it is the same speech over and over. And even if they didn’t do the work, anything good that happens was all because of them.
The Slacker: When there is work to do done, this person will be no where to be found. There are countless excuses for why they need to be elsewhere. Or, they have a rather outlandish and exaggerated list of duties they already have overflowing on their plate.
Are you laughing or crying right now? We all have these people in our lives. You can not control them however you can control how you handle your encounters with them.
Here are some tips to consider before letting these people ruin your day or ruining your reputation by losing your patience with them.
Look in the Mirror
When managing difficult people, you have to be honest with yourself. Does this person bug you because you know you have been guilty of this behavior before? Or, you work very hard not to be like this person and you are frustrated that they can’t keep it together. You are a good person. They are a likely a good person. Life can be hard. Sometimes you have to give yourself and others a break.
For your own wellbeing and that of even the most tiresome people in your life, listen and offer a heartfelt sign of understanding. Don’t let them take advantage of your generous spirit, but be sensitive. No need to enroll them into your circle of friends, but be tolerant. Treat this person as you hope people will treat you when you are having a bad behavior moment.
Acknowledge with Kindness
Kindness is always the right answer. Mostly people just want to be heard. So following their annoying behavior, acknowledge with a fact based statement. Try not to judge. Be constructive. It is not your role to “fix” this person. If the person happens to be a friend or someone you manage, you can offer some ideas and solution-oriented approaches to enhance their communication style or address the issue at hand.
Find the Good
When managing difficult people, keep perspective. Even the most annoying person you know must have a positive trait. Focus on the good and tell them you appreciate that about them. Think about their positive while you try not to roll your eyes during their negative moments. If you have to be around this person, remember their good outweighs their bad.
You need to get along with people BUT you don’t have to seek out opportunities to be around the more irritating people in your life. Establish both mental and physical boundaries. You should not let another person’s negative vibes and frustrating style impact your joy. Be understanding. Be kind. Acknowledge them and offer some support. However, don’t feel guilty about maintaining a safe distance.
While you should never let someone abuse you or anyone else, managing difficult people is a part of life. You get to choose how you respond in every situation. Don’t let someone else’s unappealing and frustrating behavior make you exhibit some of your own. Stay calm, kind and poised. Be proud of your ability to rise above and manage difficult people. This will serve you well and keep the peace in your life.