How to deal with difficult people
Heard a horror story recently that could affect our teenage kids. My mate’s 19-year old boy fell in love with a girl who became so possessive she wouldn’t let him be in another place without him skyping or face timing her to show he was where he said he was.
I bought Gillian Hasson’s latest book How to Deal With Difficult People around the same time I heard this story, and it set me thinking that we should be teaching our kids how to navigate other people.
Someone once wrote that hell is always other people, and clearly the possessiveness of the girl described above borders on insanity; so here’s what Gillian thinks we can achieve with the problem people in our lives (and it could also be useful to cope with teenage ‘talk to the hand’ responses or loved ones going through the menopause, the male and female menopause!):
- Don’t launch into an accusation
- The other person will shrink away like a tortoise being tapped by a monkey or worse become defensive
- Ask someone questions about what they’re feeling (it’s called active listening, I learned)
- This gives the difficult person the feeling that they’ve been heard, which indeed they have
- Acknowledge their ideas and then outline why you find what they’re saying unacceptable
- Say what you want to happen and hint at what will happen if they refuse to comply
- Be direct – avoid sarcasm, excuses and lies
- If the other person uses them or gets nasty, walk away
- If they’re a real pain in the ar*e in the long term, get their toxicity out of your life if you can
Hasson’s book ends with an Oprah Winfrey quote: “Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher”.
That’s a lesson all our kids should be hearing from their parents, and one I’ll be striving for personally. Luckily I have amazing people in my life, and I’m sure you do too. But sometimes you need to stand your ground. Thank you Gillian for a fab guide. How do you deal with difficult people?