We’ve all been in situations where we were dealing with difficult people and it is never easy. It can really push you to your limits and sometimes even exhaust you, but here’s the deal. Nobody that you meet in life will be exactly like your favourite person in the world. People are rather different and therefore, it is important to know how you can deal with them. Here are some great tips that you could make use of to deal with difficult people.
#1 Listen actively
The best way to deal with somebody who is being difficult is to listen. Everybody wants to be heard, but listening to respond will not get you anywhere. However, listening to understand will. Really focus on what the other person is saying and don’t think about how you want to respond to them.
#2 Stay calm always
One of the main things that you will be taught at any dealing with difficult people training will be to stay neutral and composed when a situation is emotionally charged. Take slow deep breaths and focus your thoughts on it. Sometimes, being composed will show you the best answers.
#3 Do not judge
You have no way of knowing 100% what the other person is going through. Just like how you have a story to tell, so do they. If a person is genuinely being unreasonable, they may possibly be going through fear or vulnerability.
#4 Treat the person with respect
You should always try to reflect dignity and respect towards the person who is being difficult. No matter how that person may be treating you, showing them your contempt will not help you productively resolve the problem.
#5 Understand what they are looking for
Look for the hidden need. What is this person really trying to gain? What is this person trying to avoid?
#6 Look for assistance
Look for others around you who might be able to help. If you’re at work and there’s an irate customer, quickly scan to see if a colleague is close by.
#7 don’t demand for compliance
Telling somebody who is upset to be quiet and compose themselves will make them even more upset. Instead, you may be better off asking them what the issue is and letting them vent.
#8 “I understand” makes things worse
Sometimes telling an upset customer that you understand will just make them mad. So simply ask them to tell you more, so that you can understand better. Sometimes, listening to you and feeling that you truly want to respect their feelings, will help them calm down.
#9 “What are you smiling at?”
It may be a part of your job description to keep a smiley face, but definitely not when a customer is really, really upset. Avoid smiling as it may come across as you mocking the person. Humour can sometimes lighten the mood, but it is a big risk, so only take it if you are sure it is worth it. If you start on a dealing with difficult people training, you will learn how to effectively use humour to diffuse a charged situation.
#10 Don’t get defensive
This will be challenging because you are being really patient too. But that said, maybe you shouldn’t get defensive because then, everything will figuratively go up in smoke (we’re stressing on the figurative part). If the other person is all emotional and ready to charge, this will not help you. It is easier said than done, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
#11 Let go of your anger
Raising your voice, pointing your finger, or speaking disrespectfully to the other person will add fuel to an already heated situation. Use a low, calm, even monotone voice. Don’t try to talk over the person. Wait until the person takes a breath and then speak.
#12 Stand at a distance
You should make sure to stand at the right distance from the person who is being difficult. For one thing, you do not want to get in their face or they, in yours, but also at the same time, sometimes an automatic gesture like putting your arms out to them, may also be misinterpreted in the heat of the moment.
#13 Just say sorry
It’s a tiny word, but trust us on this, it has a mighty lot of power.
P.S – the sooner you say this, the faster you get back to normal life.
#14 Set limits and boundaries.
If the person is speaking to you in a disrespectful manner, you have all the right you need to ask them to avoid speaking to you like that. Do everything you can to calm down the situation, but do not take abuse from others either. Know where to draw the line.
#15 What’s your gut saying?
Listen to your gut. If your instincts are telling you that this will not end well, you need to be prepared and you also need to have an exit strategy so that the problem can be resolved by somebody who is equipped for it.
Now that you have some tips to get you through the task of dealing with difficult people, why not learn about the various techniques that you can use to quickly and positively diffuse and negative situation? Take our Dealing with difficult people training course. For more details contact us on [email protected]