Dealing with Difficult People

Dealing with Difficult People

In college, I took many personality tests that evaluated the way I think, behave, and interact with others. With every test I took, I learned a little more about myself; such as how I process information, the type of friends I am drawn to, and the type of men I should date.

No matter how many personality tests I took, I had to learn through experience that some personalities are like oil and water – they just don’t mix no matter how hard you try to force it.

Some people are easy to love, while others…not so much.

There are some people that are just hard to love, hard to get along with, hard to agree with – while other people are just straight-up difficult.

There are lots of mean, nasty, and hateful people in the world, some of them you may know and have to interact with on a consistent basis.

I have experienced more than a few of these personality types before, and I can’t say that I enjoy the company of these people.

Although admittedly they are hard to deal with, we can’t just pack our bags and run away. Some of these difficult people are in our families, while others we have to see daily at work or school.

I believe God allows these people in our lives to help teach us a lesson – and that hard lesson is patience. 

What would your life look like if no one or nothing could agitate you or cause you to lose focus? That’s the point God wants to mature you to, so let Him work in your heart. Allow this difficult experience make you better. He is using this difficult person to help mature you in more ways than you think. It takes a lot of self-control to keep the peace when someone is behaving terribly.

God does not require you to be best friends with everyone, so don’t feel pressure to start a relationship with this person. Face it – their behavior may never change (even though we pray they DO change), so do not feel obligated to remain in harm’s way of this person. However, God IS holding you responsible for how you treat others, so as long as you remain respectful and cordial when dealing with this difficult person, you should be just fine.

My Grandmother told me, “You won’t like everyone, and that’s OK. Some people are like sandpaper, they just rub you the wrong way.”

When dealing with difficult people, you have to consider more than your personal experiences with them on the surface. Many people that are hard to get along with having deep-rooted issues that have compiled and hardened them over time. Many of their issues have nothing to do with you, so learn to not take it personally. If you can learn to control your anger when around them, you already have the upper hand on the situation.

Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.

Each one of us has cultural views, experiences, and childhood upbringings that have shaped us into the people we have become today. The way you were raised is different than the way I have been raised, and that alone can cause conflict between us in the way we see the world. When dealing with other personalities, try not to judge. Instead, consider:

  • Why is this person always angry or frustrated?
  • What is their view of the world, and why do they think that way?
  • Is this person going through a hard time in their life right now?
  • Why am I allowing this person’s negative behavior to affect me?

When I’m dealing with a difficult person, I like to “kill ’em with kindness” so their mood does not start to affect mine. It may sound cheesy or cliche, but “kill them with kindness” is a pretty effective go-to strategy…and it always seems to work for me. You may not be able to control what they do, but you are always responsible for what you say and do. Keep your calm and combat their negativity with positivity.

Always remember:

  • An angry person cannot argue alone.
  • Sometimes silence is better than an angry response.
  • A miserable person can’t rain on your parade unless you let them.
  • Don’t allow what someone else says or does to negatively affect you.
  • Maintain your dignity when they try to ruffle your feathers or make you upset.
  • You may not be able to control every situation in your life, but you can control your attitude and how you deal with it.
  • It’s OK to walk away from relationships that are causing you emotional pain and stress.

Misery loves company, so don’t RSVP to the party.


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