From birth until death we find ourselves in personal or interpersonal difficult situations with people. What can we do about it though? Over the last three decades, I asked myself this question many times.
Difficult People Are Everywhere!
Difficult people are everywhere. No one escapes contact with difficult people while on planet earth!
What I am about to share is a reasonable and practical difficult people solution worth sharing. At the same time, this healthy perspective is a reality check too. Allow me an opportunity to explain.
Difficulty Source: Imperfect Condition
All over the world, difficult relationships happen because of a phenomenon I call the Imperfect Condition. What is the Imperfect Condition? It’s the fact that human beings all over the planet speak, think, feel, and act imperfectly. This means difficult people do imperfect stuff. It also means positive people do imperfect stuff too. No one escapes without messing up in some way, shape or form!
Imperfect Condition...Is It Bad Luck?
When I was younger, I thought I had bad luck. Then, it seemed to continue.
- I got married and divorced.
- I filed a complaint with HR department and they refused to finish the complaint investigation.
- Couple of in-class belligerent disrespectful college students reported me to college administration for being insensitive.
- Middle school principal told a judge I was a threat to all schools after I reported him to his supervisor for unresponsiveness.
- Administrator made false claims in response to filed grievance, and more.
All these difficult situations (pain) point to a possible problem source. Something I call the Imperfect Condition.
What if somehow, we could fact in this imperfect condition to overcome how we process difficult people and relationships? Might we better understand personal struggles with imperfections?
Pain Management Perspective
Pain Management Perspective – Distinguishes pain from the source of pain. I search high and low for material and found content that dealt with the pain (difficulty), but not the pain source (imperfections/Imperfect Condition). So, I was inspired to write a book that introduced real, practical, and reasonable solutions for the source of the pain. Even though the book is fictional, this blog is very real and powerful!
Escaping Difficult People Techniques
Consider the following “escaping” techniques when dealing with difficult people, situations, or circumstances. Share them with as many people you want to help improve their quality of life for the rest of their life.
- Focus on being a voice of reason. A voice of reason demands being calm to get a clear thought out and conveyed effectively. Being a voice of reason, gives you a clear reason why one strives to be calm. A voice of reason is rational not irrational. A voice of reason is premeditated not impulsive. A voice of reason is cautious and considerate not reckless with words. Maintain being a voice of reason by any means necessary – breathe slower, count to 10 inside, take deep breaths, meditate, etc.
- Give the respect you want back. The core of respect may be best described with a question. What would you want or need, if you had their point of view? Unintentionally, we listen to difficult people with an ear for unreasonableness. Then, we prescribe what they need based on “difficult” people being unreasonable. This is disrespectful. Therefore, expect difficult people to be reasonable in some way shape or form.
- Listen for their point of view. We have two ears and one mouth. In other words, active listening is a priority when dealing with seemingly unreasonable situations. Active listening takes specific interest in the point of view of another. When we take genuine interest in what others have to say, there is a better chance they will feel heard. When people in difficult situations feel heard, it sets the stage for making progress.
- Listen with an expectation to learn a lot. Listen with the expectation to learn something about yourself, the other person, and the difficult situation. Often, we have no expectation to learn from difficult people – we deem them as unable to teach us anything. This same thinking inadvertently comes from the negative label we put on them. That is what I call double jeopardy. Difficult people have parents, go to work, brush their teeth, use the restroom, have answers to problems, etc. just like positive people do.
- Remember others have experienced difficult situations too. Don’t be afraid to ask others how they have successfully or unsuccessfully handled difficult situations. Pursue solutions or resolutions with a positive-balanced perspective – the answer may come from a friend or a difficult person, a boss or subordinate, through civil discourse or an argument, etc.
- Judge but don't condemn. Labeling people with derogatory names is a form of condemnation. Just like we don’t or didn’t like how bullies call us names, Difficult Sally or Judgmental Jim don’t like it either. Just thinking about “difficult” people automatically expects difficulty, unreasonableness, etc. It also predisposes one to say something that aggravates a “difficult” person. Then, we blame them for being aggravated, angry, or difficult. It can be a vicious cycle, so we do our best to limit our contribution to escalation. Honestly, we judge a person’s character by their actions and words every day. Therefore, it’s a waste of time and emotional energy telling others they can’t judge us. They judge us anyway.
Please do share your comments, thoughts, experiences, or suggestions.
WISDOM ADVISORY: This content is ONLY useful to those who wish to live wisely – learning, adapting to change, and becoming a positive change agent in their family, community, country, and the world.