How to Deal with Difficult People

By: Sophia

At some point in our lives, we deal with people who get on our nerves. They can be people at school, work, or even at home. These are the types of people who can bring the entire mood of a room down the minute they walk in. This may affect everyone or just you. I have dealt with people like this before at work and at home. I have had roommates in my college career which we have not gotten along with each other and it was a very tense and toxic environment. I have also had to deal with situations with coworkers and customers who have not gotten along as well.

During the summer and winter break, I work at retail store where there are daily interactions with people of different backgrounds. These are both with coworkers and customers. Every other week, there was a woman who would come into the store that would attempt to return items that were not purchased at my retailer and would get frustrated and blame the cashier (including me one time) for not being able to get her money back. There was also a woman who would come in and try to steal hundreds of dollars worth of inventory at various stores throughout the district. She got caught and banned from each store that it happened at, but she came into my store the most and kept trying. I applaud her determination, but it caused extra work for the employees when it came time to do inventory. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much we could do in these situations except call over a manager when the situation was getting tense. The one positive thing about dealing with these people was that they helped me learn a lot of important skills on how to deal with these situations when they arrive.

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Text: how to deal with difficult people

Whether it is a roommate, coworker/boss, or customer, these are some tips on how to handle difficult people in difficult situations:

Create a roommate agreement.
This one really only applies to roommates, but it can be a really helpful thing to do. Create a contract that goes over the mutually agreed upon rules such as chores, how long guests can stay over, and quiet times. If you absolutely can’t come to a compromise, get an RA involved or a neutral friend to help mediate. Your work group, department, or workplace may do something similar to make people accountable for how they are acting in the setting and treating others.

Talk things out.
Sometimes problems can go away through talking. There might have been a misunderstanding that caused the problem in the first place. Find a private area and have a respectful conversation using “I” statements to express how you feel. Give positive feedback and use active listening skills to show the person you are paying attention and care about what they have to say. NEVER have a conversation when you are angry or try to one-up the person.

Talk to a boss/RA.
If you have tried talking things out and the situation still isn’t getting better, it is ok to ask for help in either mediating the situation or having a private conversation about what is going on.

Be the bigger person.
Through personal experience, this is one of the best things to do when dealing with a difficult person. Treating them with kindness and respect can help dissolve a situation because it shows the other person that what they are trying to do to you doesn’t affect you. It often leads to the other person leaving you alone in the end.

I hope these tips help you handle your difficult situation.

Of Possible Interest:
Brutal Honesty
The Impact of Microaggressions
Now that You’re on the Job – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Sophia’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Thomas Verbruggen

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