Dealing with Difficult People

Dealing with Difficult People – Those Challenging Moments
What is the secret for dealing with difficult people? It may be a family member, co-worker, or salesperson that causes our frustration. Personalities collide, tempers flair, and we say and do things that we later regret.

There are some steps we can take that will not only guard us against further stress, but help us establish a healthy attitude during those challenging moments.

Difficult people cultivate anxiety, resentment, or feelings of inadequacy. At times, a brief encounter with that disruptive individual ruins our entire day. Any long-term relationships with difficult people create tension that mounts with each passing day. Regardless of the length of the confrontation, we often find ourselves feeling miserable.

Dealing with Difficult People – The Categories
When dealing with difficult people, it is helpful to know what drives them. A difficult person falls into three basic categories:

  • One who drains others – By nature, their depressing and negative attitude characterizes them as “life suckers.” They frequently aggravate and deplete us. They complain, but refuse to accept solutions or take steps to improve their circumstances.

  • One who disrespects others – Through their constant criticism, we find ourselves consistently on the defense. Their blunt, even cruel remarks frequently leave scars that linger as abuse. They may be unsympathetic and practice excessive rudeness and ridicule at our expense.

  • One who dominates others – Any aggressive nature which dominates our workplace (or home) through intimidation is destructive. Boldness and assertiveness give way to a meanness that ignores the harmful consequences. The dominating person believes “might is right.”

Dealing with Difficult People – How to Cope
When dealing with difficult people, we must accept that we cannot control the attitude of others. Regardless of our efforts, we cannot change another person’s heart. In fact, the Bible even speaks to this: “For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness” (Mark 7:21-22).

We also can become a “difficult person” when we judge another individual. God has a way of dealing with critical people: “Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged” (Matthew 7:1–2).

Dealing with difficult people requires qualities that go against our human nature. We are all resistant to change our opinions, especially if it requires laying down our rights. But when we reflect God’s nature, His peace can transform the most difficult of relationships. When we overlook another’s faults, God looks over us. “. . . Clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others . . . And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts . . .” (Colossians 3:12-15).

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