11 Ways to Deal with Difficult People

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By Ann Sullivan

We all have those moments, trying to stay composed while dealing with an incredibly difficult person. Whether the relationship is business or personal, it takes skill to deal with certain types of people. These situations can be maddening, frustrating and send you into a tail spin if you absorb their tension. There are some techniques which can be employed, however. These can help diffuse the difficulty and help you keep your composure at the same time. Many of these are used by crisis intervention professionals. You can incorporate them into your own situations and learn to deal with difficult people too. Or, otherwise decide if it’s just time to walk away.

1) Listen to What They’re Saying

It’s easy enough to get caught up in the tension and emotion of a difficult person’s rant. Once you begin to fire back, neither of you will hear what the other is saying. It’s important, for this reason, to take a deep breath and listen. Even if what they’re saying seems bizarre, or out of left field, carefully listen to what is being said – or shouted! Often, difficult people feel like they are not being acknowledged. They will raise their voice in anger and frustration in an attempt to be heard. By simply listening and not responding until they are finished, you are automatically diffusing their anger and frustration. This takes practice, as it’s easy to get caught up in the tension and respond by talking over them. If you politely ask for permission to speak once they are finished, they will feel recognized.

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