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by Prez Ro, Matteson, IL

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“You Cannot Conquer What You Will Not Confront!”

By: Coach Da-Nay Macklin BS, CCLC

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could pick our family like we pick our friends?  Or what if we could pick our co-workers?  How exciting of a world it would be if we could hand pick every individual that we wanted in our immediate circle of life…nice, right?  Alright wake up and stop dreaming! 

All too often we are required to interact with difficult people in our lives on a semi to regular basis. Some of us work with co-workers who are cranky and hostile. Some of us have to deal with adolescents or seniors who may be irritated with the restrictions of their stage in life and who are quite difficult because of it. We have emotional dealings with our mates and friends that are uncomfortable at times that cause us some level of difficulty because of such situations. Managing each of these different and difficult situations warrants a different approach.  The approach is based on your relationship with the person and their personality type. Life has shown me a few tips and tricks that I would like to share with you!  You can become skilled at these right now to use in your dealings with difficult people to make your life easier.  

Below are some tips & tricks that keep me sane:

1. Get to KNOW yourself. The more you KNOW you, then the less likely it is that you’re going to react instead of responding to the negative people in your life.

2. Study problem people before the problem. Typically when you are interacting with the same difficult people time after time, you are able to identify patterns or sign’s that indicates a potential problem.  This allows you to plan the best way to handle the situation in advance.



3. Reject participation. One person can’t argue alone (or maybe they can-humor intended) as it requires two people to keep an argument going.  Discovering you can disengage from an argumentative situation will be a great tip for many of the difficult times yet to encounter.

4. Smile generously. Who cares if it annoys some people?  You can’t make everyone happy as you may have discovered already.  So smile and be happy as majority of people are going to find it difficult to be difficult to you…so smile!

5. Pick and choose your battles. As life happens you are going to engage in disagreements with difficult people periodically but be smart about picking your battles.  This allows for you to only get into heated situations when it’s actually worth it to you and you have decided to respond NOT react.

6. Recognize and respect differences. Let’s face it we are all different to some respect, and respect is the key.  Several issues that may occur regarding difficult people stem from differences in how we were raised, our beliefs and values, and certainly communication styles.  Recognize these differences and respect individuality.  Appreciate your own uniqueness. 

7. Establish healthy boundaries. At an early age were taught the “golden rule” to respect others, at the same time, one must demand the same level of respect.  Creating healthy boundaries helps to ensure respect is given in all scenarios, and it keeps people from infringing upon you unjustly.

8.  Walk in their shoes.  Put yourself into their shoes and see what’s causing them to take steps to be so spiteful. Having insight into the emotions behind the difficulty will lighten your heart in an effort to be more understanding of others.

9. Decline being defensive. Various things come across as someone being difficult but really it is more neutral than imagined. Human nature is to take these things personally then blow them out of proportion. Don’t assume their problem has to do with you; unless you’re informed otherwise.

10. Emotional check-up. When is the last time you had an emotional check-up?  Stop and check in with you!  Find out what’s going on internally with you as you begin to interact with difficult people. Don’t react but rather respond.  Instead, make time to journal and/or process what exactly is going on with you. Then you are able to approach them in a more calm nature.

11. Communication 101. The more improved our skill set is at articulating what’s going on individually, the easier it becomes to communicate our requests to these difficult people.

12. Avoid your highway mentality.  It is no longer your way or the highway! Do not take for granted that your way is the right way. Perhaps you have come up with a great solution, remain open to the options of others while considering their input. 

13. “Break” away.  Let’s face it, sometimes there may not be an easy resolution to an immediate situation with a difficult person. However, take a break and walk away from the situation.  At this point you can at least get a break from the intensity of the situation.

14. Gone grudges. Poof, grudges be gone!  Far too often, we cling to grudges toward the people that have been difficult in our past; which in return makes it that much harder to move on to a better relationship with them in the future. Forgive and let go; work from this point onward.

Life lessons have taught and made me aware that you are not going to make everyone happy!  On the other hand, you can make yourself happy by working on yourself–becoming self-aware, tapping into your kindness, and shielding your positive being.  As a result of this, you may find yourself helping difficult people by promoting a sense of agreement within yourself that their negativity can’t penetrate. “Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.” ~Sri Chinmoy

Da-Nay chose her passion over everything else when she left behind several Fortune 100 companies.  Today, as a certified life coach she enables thousands to achieve their goals and life purpose through her personal development blog and coaching:

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