We’ve all met that one person. He’s the guy that makes you so furious you forget where you are. She’s the girl that the very thought of her piercing voice makes you shudder. He’s the guy that can’t stand when you get the last word. She’s the girl that gives you that judgmental glare every time you come around. Difficult people can be awful. And yet, we can’t necessarily get away from them.
There are many tips our Atlanta therapist give that can help deal with difficult people, and they aren’t complete cures, but maybe they can help a little. Here’s a few:
- Think about why that person is the way he is. There is a reason. Many difficult people operate out of fear. They might fear not being accepted, fear they will fail, or fear they won’t measure up. Others have had difficult life experiences that have taught them to build defenses against other people. Others have developed habits they just aren’t aware of. Trying to understand a little bit about why a person is the way he is, can help you develop empathy for him. This doesn’t mean you just excuse or ignore the behavior, but it might help you feel less frustrated by it.
- Think about the goal. Understanding your goal in a conversation, relationship, interaction can help you focus on achieving the desired outcome rather than focusing on the negative feelings you sometimes feel when you are around the person. Then, work to behave and engage with the person in a way that helps you achieve the outcome.
- Fight fair. Read how our Atlanta therapist do it.
- Remember that ultimately you control your own thoughts and emotions. This is difficult for us to grasp but it is true. When a person annoys you or frustrates you, it is because of how you think about that person. In most cases our thinking causes us to get aggravated, frustrated, or annoyed. Here’s a quick example of this: There’s an elderly woman in her car at a green light. She hasn’t moved from the light. She’s taking a little while. The person behind her may think she’s an elderly person and may just have a tendency to drive slow. This person quickly forgives her for her age limits and waits for her to move. The elderly woman’s grandson happens to be in the car and is frustrated with her. He yells at her. He’s mad because he knows she intentionally does this. He thinks about how annoyed people must be, and doesn’t think his grandmother should be doing this. She laughs and says “Ha ha. Suckers” as she watches people go by. Normally she’s a fast driver, but every once in a while she expresses frustration with how people get in her way, and decides to sit at a light as her way of getting back at people. Her son is also in the car. He’s had to deal with this all of his life. At first he would get mad, but then he just decided to accept his mother was not going to change. Instead of worrying about it, he’s decided to check his Facebook every time she does it as a way to kill time. All of these people have rights to be mad, irritated, and frustrated, yet the grandson is the most frustrated because of his thinking. See?!?! Your thinking impacts how you feel about situations. Now, there are times when people are extremely dysfunctional and cause there to be a lack of emotional, physical, or psychological safety. In this case, a person might need to distance himself in order to avoid the frustration that comes along with interacting with the dysfunctional person.
- Decide if there is a boundary that can help with your frustration. Sometimes setting boundaries of how long you will spend time with a person, how close a person gets, what you are willing to do for a person, or how much control you allow the person to have can be helpful. Boundaries help relationships.
- Decide if you can have a conversation about what’s frustrating you. Sometimes this wouldn’t be appropriate, but at other times it is absolutely necessary. Communication doesn’t have to be hurtful, and it doesn’t have to equal confrontation. Sometimes we fear confrontation and so we decide to ignore something altogether. Lack of communication does not foster healthy relational dynamics.
Obviously, this isn’t everything but our Atlanta therapist have counseled many working professionals who struggle with this in the workplace or at home. There’s plenty more information where that came from, and if you are struggling with a significant relationship in your life our Atlanta therapist may be able to help. Give us a call.