It’s only natural that we want to be “right” or feel that we are handling every situation to our best ability. But, the truth remains that it is not always the case. This becomes especially evident when we deal with people that are considered difficult, verbally aggressive, or just negative. They seem to bring out the “worst” in us and, unfortunately, they seem to recognize and (for some) enjoy it.
These battles cause us a lot of emotional distress and can make life seem a bit burdensome. What can you do to “get along” with them and not drive yourself into a frustrating tailspin? Try these strategies for recognizing and dealing positively with the people and the situations:
1. Make an effort to “keep your hands clean”. In other words, don’t get into any situations with them that would cause you to step outside of your comfort zone and become as aggressive or stubborn as they are. Take the high road and a more progressive approach. If there is a problem, offer solutions. If there is a personality issue, let them know that you will “consider” their views, or that you hadn’t looked at something from “that perspective” before. But, above all, don’t give in to their railings.
2. Don’t worry about being right. Everyone has an ego and most of the time, people want their ego to be stroked. While you don’t have to “lift” people up, you also don’t have to be the one to tear them down. If the person is wrong, you may need to hold your peace if it is not a pressing or endangering situation. Let them be wrong. You don’t have to prove to them that you are “right”. It will only make them resent you more and they will seek to make things difficult for you…all of the time!
3. Earn their respect. This may be tough, but it’s not impossible. People that are combative generally know who they can get to spar with them or who they can intimidate. Don’t be either one of those people. Be a rational “non-participant” and don’t become involved with their antics. They will notice that their “tricks” don’t work with you and, if you continue to maintain your self-respect, they, too, will grow to respect you.
4. Do your best not to internalize what they say. It will only make your life miserable. Remember, misery loves company and often, their aggression is a manifestation of their own internal turmoil. Recognize that, forgive them if need be, and go on.
5. Don’t let them hinder you professionally. Whether a person is a “yes man” or conscientious objector to everything that you say or do, let them be who they are and work around them as much as possible. If the person is someone that is a gossip, if they hold grudges, if they are the office intimidator, let them be. If it’s your boss and they do all that they can to find fault, let them be. Your personal success is about you. As long as you do what you are supposed to do with a positive outlook, stay focused on working to your full potential, and communicate as needed, your endurance and personal strength will help you to get through anything that these difficult people throw your way.
Life is full of difficult people. When you recognize that someone could make your life more stressful, do all that you can to handle what they throw your way with rationality and grace, avoid confrontation, forgive them before they ask, and stay on track with being the best you that you can be. If you do these things, then will always “BE RIGHT”!