How Do I  Deal With Difficult People?

Life is full of difficult people, and there’s no exception in sober living. How we handle or deal with difficult people can be very different from the past, when we were drinking, to sobriety. We now have options. We can choose various techniques for handling situations with a difficult person depending upon the nature and environment in which we encounter them.

Dealing with difficult people at our place of work can be very challenging because we have to see them everyday. We also need to accomplish the tasks set before us. We can learn a lot about ourselves by observing how we perceive the difficult person. Let’s say we have to attend numerous meetings with them. We leave the meeting fuming to ourselves or a colleague, I can’t stand the way he goes on and on at the meeting with no regard for anyone’s time! We know it’s not good to gossip or say negative things about other employees, but we just can’t help ourselves, can we? Yes we can. Furthermore, it’s known that often the things we dislike in someone else can be the very things we dislike in ourselves.

In the case of the time insensitive person, we have the option to ask ourselves, where in our life are we insensitive to time or lack in time management skills? It could turn out that we are constantly late for appointments and meetings. We can’t change the person who dominates the meeting, but we can change ourselves. We can also be proactive and ask the employee leading the meetings to please keep others on topic. It’s a simple request. After that if the person continues to hog the conversation, we will have the option of letting go of our anger, leaving the meeting, or interrupting the person and asking him or her to try to stay on the subject. Confrontation doesn’t usually work with difficult people.

In life and sobriety we have the option to no longer tiptoe around difficult people. We can be a kind bullfighter who doesn’t intend on killing the bull, but rather just wave our red cape and let him pass. We can remain calm, refrain from judging, be courteous and respectful, listen and try to find out what is really irking them. We never really know what is causing someone to behave in a difficult manner. Sometimes a little compassion and being genuine helps.

“I want to try to make difficult people somehow relatable.”—Rebecca Hall

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