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How to Deal With Difficult People

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Whether it’s a toxic workplace, a tough relationship, or the increasingly divided political spectrum, it seems like it can be impossible to see progress in difficult relationships. We can’t control the circumstances around us, but we can indirectly influence them by the way we treat the most challenging people in our lives. 

It’s important to not write off the strenuous people around you. You might be able to justify it; like how someone may be rude to you or not appreciate what you do; maybe they always say negative things. But we’ll never be able to get away from it. We will always face these challenges. The trick is to not run away from difficult people but to learn how to interact with them and influence those relationships for the better.

When we learn to deal with difficult people, we live better lives. At work, we’re more likely to be productive and innovative with our co-workers and bosses. In our relationships, we see progress, set positive boundaries, and find a fulfilling purpose in our interactions. 

If we focus on the following core principles, we can improve our relationships with difficult personalities.

1. Listen, Then Wait

It’s easy to identify the things that frustrate us about someone. It’s much harder to understand who they are and why they act as they do. The latter approach gives a future and hope for progress when dealing with people.

The best is to learn as much as possible about the person by asking them questions. When you identify a subject or interest they are passionate about, continue to feed the conversation and encourage them to say more. When we practice this social habit, we connect with the people we talk to. We show respect and signify that they matter. 

When we listen, we listen patiently. As the other party approaches the end of the conversation, if they feel like you connected with them, they’ll more than likely invite your input. Since you gave them undivided attention, you are now credible in their eyes and what you say carries more weight. This is when you can add value to the conversation and begin to influence the person.

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” – Ralph Nichols

2. Reinforce Your Relationship

Listening opens the door for us. Once the person trusts us, we can begin to establish and redefine the relationship. When you speak positive and encouraging things into their life, they will begin to receive it.

Tell that person how much you admire or enjoy them. Be specific through your communication. You can talk about talent, a recent accomplishment, or something that has gone unnoticed. The most impactful thing you can do is compliment something about their character. 

We often think bad about ourselves. When we speak life into someone that’s irrelevant to their output, but to who they are as a person, they will appreciate it and remember it forever. 

An effective way to reinforce your relationship is when you happen to be in the other person’s environment or arena. Some of the best interviews are done when the guest makes sure to praise the host by referencing their book or a piece of work they did in the past throughout the context of the interview. They often get invited back and the host has a positive impression (even if they completely disagree on the subject). When we honor difficult people in places that they value the most, we show appreciation and respect.

3. Understand the Person

The primary reason we may see someone as “difficult” is that we lack context. A friend of mine had a hard time seeing progress in his relationship with his grandfather. His grandpa was rude, showed little affection, and always made things more difficult. He finally started listening to his story. 

His grandfather’s mother died in childbirth the day he was born. One of his younger siblings died partially of his fault by not keeping an eye on him. He lived through the Great Depression and was a refugee. It wasn’t until my friend understood what his grandfather went through, that he could look beyond small offenses and appreciated his relationship. While there is no excuse to let someone treat you badly, you can at least guide that person and influence them once you know their story.

Ask yourself about that person, “What drives them? What motivates them? Why are they the way that they are?” Once we can answer those questions, we can begin to repair and understand the relationship. We know how to communicate with them.

“To be interesting, be interested.” – Dale Carnegie

4. Make Progress

Not every relationship can be repaired or reach optimal health, but we can do our best to make it functional and respectful. When we switch our goal from avoiding someone to making progress, we are more likely to see positive results. 

This does not mean we should take on toxic or harmful relationships, but it does mean we should consider making progress with the people that are in our lives and tough to be around with.

When we follow these steps, we soon find common ground. We’ve learned from them and have developed an authentic relationship. This progress gives us room to establish healthy growth, respectful boundaries, and a better experience. 

How do you deal with difficult people? Share your tactics and experiences with us below!

John Paul Hernandez is a copywriter and business strategist that provides value to companies and their customers through ReadySetCopy.com. When he’s not writing, you’ll find him in Little Havana leaning by a ventanita, sipping his cafecito. You can follow him on Twitter @TeamJohnH.

Life

How Your Psychological Blind Spots Keep You Stuck in Life

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Sometimes, life doesn’t seem to make any sense. Albert Einstein once said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Here’s the funny thing. We will say that line about someone else, have a good chuckle, and then DO THE SAME THING OURSELVES! This time, it’s not that funny, is it? I know. I’ve done it myself. (more…)

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3 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself and Live an Optimized Life

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The secret to happiness lies in the way you live your life. People think of happiness as some destination they’ll reach when they’ve accomplished the hundred things on their life to-do list. Happiness is often associated with money, material possessions, or even great relationships. (more…)

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These 7 Daily Resolutions Can Change Your Life

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We all strive to be better every day. Most of us want a new day to bring something new, and we plan for it as well. Of course, the execution is debatable as procrastination is real and it becomes an overwhelming feeling at times. Also, not to forget the customary practice of making resolutions on new year’s eve!  All of us are fascinated by the thought of preparing long lists of resolves to mark the beginning of a new year. Not sure how many people are able to translate these resolutions into functional realities. (more…)

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4 Reasons Why Content Is Pivotal For Mental Health Healing

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One of the most important things for an entrepreneur’s mental health is expressing their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. This is where content creation and writing becomes pivotal. Whether you read something that resonates with you or you write a compelling blog post, the act of expressing yourself through content can help to put a smile on your face and make you feel better about things.

Most entrepreneurs don’t spend as much time taking care of their mental health as they should. Over the course of your career, you will experience a lot of ups and downs; these emotions have the potential to take a toll on your mind and body if you don’t learn to manage them properly.

Here are four reasons why expression through content is pivotal for healing, slowing yourself down, and giving yourself grace when the going gets tough.

1. Content can be a form of self-expression

When you are an entrepreneur, you frequently face feelings of insecurity, doubt, fear, apathy, and exhaustion, just to name a few. Some days it feels like no one is on your business’s side and everyone else has it all figured out. On those days some of us try to look at our website’s analytics to cheer up. 

But an even more freeing task is creating content. You create content to improve your business and reach more people’s lives. But, there is something special that happens when you write with the intention of expressing your thoughts and feelings — you open a door to yourself. 

Content is inherently personal, which means content creators open themselves up when they share their thoughts on a platform. Everything from the title of the post, the keywords they choose to include, and even the content itself helps you to understand who the author of that post truly is. And as an entrepreneur, this can be an important experience because it allows others to empathize with you.

2. Self-reflection will lift you up

As you think through what to write about and how to express yourself, the process of self reflection is a valuable step you need to go through. You’re able to reflect on the blessings you have, assess what you learned from the negative experiences, and create a plan on how to maintain the positive experiences you’ve had. 

There are a few ways that self reflection can help you with mental health healing. The act of reflecting on your experiences helps to create clarity in feelings, thoughts and emotions which will eventually lead into acceptance for what has happened or is happening currently without feeling overwhelmed by it all. This process also leads people towards finding new things they enjoy doing. Self reflection is therapeutic and can be implemented anytime you feel the need to overcome overwhelm.

“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” – Hal Elrod

3. A sense of belonging and camaraderie

It is important to have a support network of people who will listen and understand what you are going through. When you post a blog or upload a video on YouTube, there are others who feel the same way and experience a sense of connection with you.

When you put time, attention and thoughtfulness into your writing, it is amazing when someone reads what you’ve written and comments on it thanking you or expressing how they resonate with what you’re going through. It’s hard to put into words how powerful it feels when someone who has gone through the same experience and reads your words then reaches out.  There is power in expression but miracles happen when people bond over a similar experience.

4. Library of content to share with more people

It can be very difficult to know what content to share with people as the symptoms of mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, etc.) vary from person to person. But as you accumulate more and more content, this will increase the number of articles or videos available for readers to choose from depending on their specific purpose. It also builds your personal library of resources you’re able to share to different people you encounter or engage directly with.

As chaotic and distracting social media can be, it can also be a beacon of hope with the right content. Many people share viral posts, or content that interest them. Since your content is valuable and personal, the more you share it, the more likely it is to be shared with the right audience.

You never know who is watching (reading)

Your content is speaking to someone and even though they may not be actively engaged, their experiences with your work are impacting them. Think about the last time you watched TV: did everyone in the room have something entertaining to say? 

You never know who’s watching because there’s always somebody reading your posts or viewing your videos-even if they just skim through it briefly. This is why creating content worth consuming is critical, not only to get you out of your funk, but also to serve your audience.  Be authentic and stay true to yourself; make every post count as an opportunity for connection with your best self and for potential readers to bond with you.

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