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Dealing with difficult people

During his reign of terror, Adolf Hitler commissioned his personal architect, Albert Speer, to redesign the new Chancellery building. Within just a year, the grand building was completed. Its scale was reported to be one so massive that Hitler’s office itself was equivalent to the size of a tennis court –except that, mind you, that isn’t the best part. Due to that very massiveness, historians claimed that the journey from the main door to his desk alone became quite a walking distance so much so that with each step taken closer to him, Hitler’s visitors quivered. Granted, we have all read or heard how cruel Hitler was. Indeed he must have known how torturous the walk must’ve been –and yet? Well. Perhaps he was just being difficult.

Fortunately, at this day and age, to be or meet difficult people did not require an Adolf Hitler, neither does it need a massive building nor a lone desk at the corner of a long room. Difficult individuals are everywhere and they come in every conceivable variety. Some talk constantly and never listen. Others must always have the last word. Some fail to keep commitments. Others criticize anything that they did not create. Some compete with you for power, privilege and the spotlight; others go way too far in courting the boss’ positive opinion resulting in your diminishment. We could go on forever, because the list goes on and on like an endless spiral.

However, contrary to popular belief, difficult people do not equate to being difficult to handle –the fundamental principle are all the same: They, as with most of us, just want to be understood. Most of the time, difficult persons have a different way of seeing things so you need to be creative with your communication. They have qualities that they want you to recognise except that they do not know how to express their ‘uniqueness’ any other way. Build trust with them instead of charging into battle. If you need to battle anyway, learn to plan them carefully by take time to really assess the situation and the person involved.

As cliché as this may sound, we tend to forget that we become blind-sided in a negative situation especially if it has angered us in some ways. However, we must remember, difficult people are unique in a sense that what they do to you isn’t anything personal, to them, you’re nothing special. So breathe. Be the bigger person and step back. Try putting yourself in their position and see the world from their point of view. What is ironic with dealing with difficult people is that we are tend to reflect on our wellbeing in the process. As the saying goes, “What goes around, comes around,” which reminds us to treat people with respect in the future. Let them know how you feel diplomatically, and then allow nature to run its course.

But beware: In the worst case scenarios, if the situation really cannot be helped, choose to eliminate negative people in your life. Fact of the matter is, difficult people can be a source of energy drain. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands and do not mind it, cut them off from your life. Cut them out by avoiding interactions with them as much as possible. Remember that you have the choice to commit to being surrounded by people who have the qualities you admire: optimistic, positive, peaceful and encouraging people. We wish we didn’t have to say it, but negativity only breeds more negativity, so make the wise decision on what serves you best.

Good luck.

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