Now that you have a basic knowledge of the different causes and characteristics that govern difficult people, let us now learn how to master and, perhaps even enjoy, such difficulties. (Read previous posts): The Dynamics Underlying The Difficult Person, How Different Pressures Affect People, Difficult People Attitudes Can Be Transferred.
Willpower to Deal
First things first. If you do not want to deal with difficult people, or any difficulty for that matter, then you’re wasting your time reading this post. You will run away all your life. No place on earth is safe from difficult people. You really have no choice but to learn how to face them squarely and effectively.
A run-away once dove into the deepest depths of the ocean floor hoping to evade all difficult, smart alecks on earth and vowed never to return to dry land. He found two underwater tunnels and stopped to decide which one to take. As he went for one, his thoughts told him, “Wrong choice, silly!” Not long after, there beneath the earth, he finally learned to live with the worst difficult person he has ever known – himself.
Here are some practical steps to develop the willpower to deal with difficult people.
1. You must like people
All people take on all sorts of attitudes. Liking people is the first sure step to triumph. Avoiding them, especially the difficult ones, is a sure path to becoming difficult yourself. So the first natural thing to do is to go out and meet people. Very soon, you will meet difficult people. Greet them and genially accept whatever reaction they give you. Don’t be discouraged; but continue to greet more of them regularly until you get used to them, and until your LOT skyrockets to record-breaking heights. They may be rude and cruel, but no one’s ever heard of getting shot or killed by greeting difficult people (except in the movies).
Most touchy people can be neutralized by a friendly smile. So practice putting on a pleasant, simple, friendly smile in front of a mirror. Public speakers and actors study their facial expressions facing a mirror. Political and beauty aspirants take time with a photographer just putting on the best smile that exudes confidence and friendliness. A smile, they say, says it all. Regardless of how your face looks, a smile always (well, at least most of the time) puts on warmth and comeliness. A good smile always arrests the temper, even that of difficult people. So always smile.
3. Be sincere
A smile helps a lot, but sincerity gives your smile credibility. A mere smile is a matter of facial muscle flexing. When this alone is involved, the smile becomes unnatural. Put your heart into it! A sincere heart will automatically show if you live a life of sincerity. Practice sincerity. Always be sincere in all you do daily. When your heart gets used to being sincere, smiling sincerely becomes natural. Difficult people can see right through you, and sincerity melts their hearts.
4. Listen well
Almost all difficult people want to talk much more than they listen. This is the main problem in communication. Difficult people love to talk and want people to listen to them. In a nutshell, that’s what they are. Basically, you cannot put two difficult persons together and have them talk. Difficult people avoid each other once they recognize each other. If they are made to sit down and listen, they can’t stand it. They will either stand up and steal the scene, or just walk out. If you are working for (or with) a difficult person, or worse yet, locked up with him for life, practice becoming a good listener. You must learn the wisdom of enjoying listening. Few have this wisdom. Most people think there is wisdom in monopolizing a conversation. As in business, this only results in unfairness and silent protests. You can make difficult people happy when you just listen to them. Not many can do this. When you are a good listener, even the most difficult people tend to trust you with their secrets. Then you begin to know them as they reveal who they really are. You begin to understand them deeper; thus, you will be able to help them better. As they open up their secrets, understand and love them more.
5. Be agreeable
This does not necessarily mean agreeing to anything difficult people say, but it is more about agreeing not to argue. If you don’t agree with the opinions of difficult people, just listen and send everything to your mental bin. Delete. It’s your right. But never argue. Never mind if they say you are not confrontational. So what? Nobody dies because of that. But arguments often kill. Nations go to war because of arguments. See the wisdom? Remember that every seed of kindness you plant now will surely reap a harvest of favors soon. It happens nearly every time. Valuables are often left to agreeable people, never to aggressive ones. Very few trust contrary people. If you are known for your politeness, even the most difficult folks will give you special favors. Always remember that the most difficult people are strivers. They are workaholics. They feed on pressure to hit their goals. Often they get promoted to positions that confer favors on “worthy” men. They often rake in more valuables than the average guy.
6. Be honest
Never flatter anyone insincerely, especially difficult people. Insincere flattery always traps its users, and it sure is hell to get trapped with a difficult person. Hence, it always pays to just listen and be agreeable. See? When difficult people ask your opinion or ask if you agree with them, tell them honestly but nicely. If you agree, agree. If you don’t, make sure you stress that it is your opinion, not a statement of fact. Most likely, they will not agree with it and may even try to make you realize how stupid it is. Just listen and be polite. Or, if possible and truthful, quote somebody’s opinion that agrees with yours. If they mock it, at least you save your dignity. Then you can smile more easily. If you insincerely flatter difficult people and they get to like you for it, woe to you! You will find it more difficult, and later, impossible to be free from them.
Take note of their worth and achievements, even if you think differently and have a different idea of success. Appreciate their efforts. Share their triumphs and sad moments. At times, a smile or tap of congratulations or sympathy is enough and speaks volumes. But never overdo it.
Practice the steps above daily until you make it your habit. You will soon possess a healing power that countless people need and crave for – the power that will launch you to untold successes in whatever endeavor you engage in.