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.
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.
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:
There are people who mean well but are unreliable:
Then there are people who are suffering from their own problems so severely that they can’t play nicely with others:
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.
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.