Susan Fee

Article Summary:

Guidelines for dealing with the difficult people in your life.

Dealing with Difficult People

Is there a jerk in your life? Someone who's driving you crazy? Someone who is unreasonable no matter what you try? Read on for strategies in how to deal with difficult people.

You Teach Others How to Treat You
Learn this relationship rule and you'll relieve a lot of stress in your life. People can't push your buttons unless you show them the panel! Have you had a string of jerks in your life? You have the power to break the pattern. Take responsibility for your interactions and the relationship will follow.

Lose the Victim Mentality
Dealing with difficult people can be exhausting. And most of the energy drain comes from blaming them for making your life miserable. Blaming others means turning over all your power and allowing someone else to control your outcome. Because, unless he or she changes, nothing improves. Responding as a victim is a choice that automatically gives the other person the upper hand.

Communicate Assertively
Assertive communication means maintaining your rights while respecting the rights of others. That's far different than an aggressive style that violates the rights of others, or passive, in which you allow your own rights to be violated. Speaking assertively is taking ownership of your feelings and requests.

Focus on Future Behavior
People aren't the problem, it's how they choose to behave. What is he or she doing that you want changed? If you can't answer that question, you're not ready to have a conversation. A person can only change future behavior. A conversation filled with personal attacks and a history of mistakes generates defensiveness.

What's Negotiable?
When it comes to your relationships, what's negotiable and non-negotiable? What standards do you have that, no matter what, you will not allow to be violated? These are your boundaries for defining the relationship. Once a boundary is crossed, ask yourself what's keeping you in the relationship? If a non-negotiable becomes negotiable, re-read the first tip.

Know When to Walk Away
Not all relationships are worth saving. It's time to walk away when you're putting in more energy than you could ever hope to reasonably receive.

Susan Fee is a licensed counselor, life coach, and corporate trainer. She is the author of two communication tips booklets that may be ordered through her Website, She is also the author of the college survival book, "My Roommate is Driving Me Crazy! Solve Conflicts, Set Boundaries, and Survive the College Roommate from Hell"(Adams Media). Visit the website for free college survival tips. Susan also conducts one-on-one executive coaching in interpersonal and public speaking skills and teaches individuals how to identify and reach their personal goals. Past clients include Disney, Motorola, and United Airlines.

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