Managing Difficult People

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Some people are easy to be around and others are not.  All of us have at least a few difficult that we can think of in our life.  Being around difficult people particularly if on a daily basis can have a negative effect on our mental health and emotional well-being.


It is not easy to try and change other people.  If and when people decide to acknowledge and address their problems, they will.  Dealing with those difficult people can be personally challenging and may make us look within ourselves to find more positive ways of coping with and responding to these individuals.  There are a number of ways that you can reduce the negative feelings that these difficult people may have on you:


  1. It sometimes helps if you can try to understand the other person’s perspective and where they are coming from.  That may minimize the negative feelings that you experience and possibly even cause you to empathize with the person if you can have a better understanding of where they are coming from.
  2. Engage in positive self-talk.  You can think about your own strengths and validate yourself and your feelings.
  3. Take some deep breaths to try and help you relax.
  4. Do not obsess over your interaction with the difficult person and they what might have said or done.  By continuing to think about it, you are not allowing yourself to move on and you may become stuck.  Tell yourself to “stop” thinking those negative thoughts and try to think about something that is positive instead.
  5. Depending on the circumstance, you may want to respond to the person in an assertive  manner.  Being assertive means that you express your thoughts, feelings, and concerns although not in an aggressive way.  Communicating in an aggressive way would be things like yelling or screaming, or insulting the person.   An example of being assertive would be saying something like, “It makes me feel uncomfortable when you say things like that to me.  I would appreciate it if you would please not say things like that.”


Remember: It also matters how you say it not necessarily what you say so try to say it in a calm  voice.


If those techniques do not work, that may be an indication that it is time to end the relationship.  This can be a difficult option especially if the person if a family member or friend.  Dealing with the loss of the relationship will be a part of the process but you may realize that you are feeling better without that difficult person in your life.

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June 2024
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