Difficult People

Frankenstein looming. Woman reading book titled “how to deal with difficult people” says “A category 10! Gulp! I’ll need... a pitchfork?! Or... Fire! And lots of it!!!”

Difficult people, can’t live with them, can’t live with them.  Certainly nobody wants to work with them, or enjoys dealing with them as customers, but often we can’t avoid them.

Everyone experiences difficult people in various areas of their life, but usually there is one particularly difficult person that causes a very regular and specific pain; it’s usually a relative, often a parent…

The only people I know of that don’t have a single difficult person who they regularly moan about in their life, are in fact a difficult person themselves.   

Sassy woman says“Difficult? I tell it like it is, no sugar-coating. I say it to your FACE! ...Hey, where did everyone go?!!”

Personally, I have read and listened to a great deal of advice on how to deal with difficult people BUT I have never effectively learnt HOW to deal with difficult people  …and I think I may have finally figured out why.

Like the reasonable man described in law, and the standard patient described in medical journals, the difficult person does not exist. 

Frankenstein has a staff member held in the air above his head, she says “He looks pretty real to me!!!” Colleague legging it “Yeah, and really quite angry...”

Unfortunately, whilst the difficult person does not exist, difficult situations, and people who are difficult to interact with, very definitely do.  

This is not just semantics – I am trying to explain that the reason it is hard to learn how to deal with “difficult people” is that they are not a single cohesive group; they are all difficult in their own unique and special way.  Yippee!

There are people who seem to only want to use you for their own ends:

Woman in coat, with two screaming kids says “We WERE having coffee, but I have to cancel so now you’re free to babysit my kids right?” Second woman looks shocked and almost drops coffees.

There are people who mean well but are unreliable:

Dad in car, me, as a child with a hockey stick frozen at the side of the road covered in snow – Dad : “3pm?! I thought we said 5.30?”

Then there are people who are suffering from their own problems so severely that they can’t play nicely with others:

Woman at desk “An emergency you say? Sure I’ll help, what is it?” Woman opposite screeches: “I haven’t got time to TELL you what it is!”

With such a wide variety of people who are difficult to deal with on offer, and so many different ways to experience them, to learn how to deal with every single one of them simply isn’t possible.

By all means read advice on how to deal with difficult or “toxic” people; take whatever tips you can, where ever the hell you can get them.  I know I do.  Experience can help, as can removing yourself from the situation.

Woman reaching for coat “AN emergency you say? What a coincidence, I have to leave now, bye!” Other woman looks disgruntled.

Once you accept that it is impossible to deal with every single kind of difficult person you can get on with the business of coping with them when you do come across them, without berating yourself afterwards for not having handled them better.

Also please remember most people, difficult or not, mean well.  Often their difficultness is caused by their own internal struggles, and whilst it feels personal it probably isn’t meant to hurt you.  At the same time please remember that if they did intend to hurt you, pretending that it hasn’t hurt you can really spoil their fun.

4 thoughts on “Difficult People”

  1. I own an amazing book called “Toxic People” by Lillian Glass — in it she details a variety of toxic individuals and specifically how to deal with each — I can tell you from experience that her methods work — you should check it out!!!! An awesome post . . . as usual!!!

  2. Very interesting … I never thought about it that way. I have a particular difficult person in mind, who although, not easy to deal with and I often say she sucks the energy out of a room for me, does have a very generous heart. It’s all in the perspective. Another great post!

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