Managing Difficult People

Because Sometimes That’s All You Can Do

At one of my previous work positions, there was a young woman who no matter what, we just did not get along. She would often criticize my work, and if she were in the wrong about something, would never apologize. Not only did this young woman make it difficult for me to do my job, but I started to doubt myself and my abilities more.

This was a difficult situation for me because I am the kind of person who avoids conflict at all costs. But in the long run not only are you hurting any chance of a positive relationship, but you are making a bad situation worse. While it can be difficult to understand why some people don’t want to have a friendly relationship with you, in the long run, it helps to teach you some valuable life lessons, especially when it comes to working with others.

Are you finding yourself at a road block with someone? Here are some helpful ways that I have found helps me when dealing with difficult people:

1. Make a genuine effort to get to know this individual 

In college I was always a social butterfly, always doing my best to get to know people and learn more about them. When these issues with this co-worker started to arise; I immediately knew I had to do my best just to be friendly. Simply asking how their weekend was, and following up on Monday is a great way to start. But make sure you are actually listening! This only works if you take a genuine interest in the other individual.

2. Take it a step further and make a lunch date

It can be a bit intimidating to ask someone who is causing you difficulties to spend time with you. But what is the worst that could happen? They say no that’s okay? I think that is something you can survive. I always believe in being the bigger person in situations like this by taking the initiative to try and set things right.

3. Ask for help

I finally decided I needed help when the tension I was experiencing with this co-worker reached an extreme level. I decided my best course of action was to request a meeting with her to discuss what happened, and how we can move forward. You know what happened? It did not go well! But, I was proud that I stuck up for myself, making clear that what has been happening was wrong.

4. If need be, avoid contact as much as possible 

Sometimes you find that certain people will never meet you halfway. In this case, I recommend doing the best you can to limit contact with this individual. If you work with this individual, try and have another co-worker around to act as either a mediator or just another person to be around. It’s sad if this is the route you have to take, but if it’s your only option, it’s what you have to do.

5. Always be yourself

Throughout your life, you will feel pressures to conform, and be something your not in order to impress and please others. This is not only counter-productive but hurtful to you. Be proud of who you are, if someone can’t find the ability to at least get along and respect you, they have no place in your life, whether it is a professional or personal relationship.

What do you think? What has been your experience with dealing with difficult people? Let me know below!

P.S. I was inspired to write this post after listening to a podcast from Kristen Brown. If you are looking for ways to develop stronger relationships, whether personal or professional, she is your go-to! Check out her website to learn more!

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