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How To Deal With Difficult People

https://hackernoon.com/how-to-deal-with-difficult-people-zxo3ezk

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How To Deal With Difficult People
Humans are social creatures who seek personal validation based on how others interact with them. We feel good and important when others share our belief system and dejected when there’s a conflict of opinions. 

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Defining difficult people

Defining difficult people

We are social creatures who desire validation. We feel good when others share our belief system. But we feel dejected when others do not value our inputs, crush our ideas, or ignore what we have to say.

These difficult people act in undesirable ways and give us permission to pass judgement and offload responsibility by blaming them for undesirable outcomes.

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Influences that define difficult people

We view the world and the people in it from a specific paradigm.

How we relate to someone is driven by our personality, expectations, background, and experience. Why we find someone difficult is then a very personal affair.

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The TRICK framework that drives us

  • T - Tagging. We are quick to label others as needy, manipulative, fake, arrogant, but explain away our own selfish acts and believe we are better than others.
  • R - Righteous. When we find someone difficult, we start believing in the righteousness of how we feel, what we want, and why the other person deserves to be treated in a certain way. We reject them as a person, as well as their ideas.
  • I - Intention. Once we know we are right, it's easy to assume they act out of bad intent.
  • C - Confirmation. Once we think someone is difficult, every interaction serves as a validation of our beliefs. We will reject the evidence that contradicts our beliefs and seek information that strengthens our views.
  • K - Keenness to fix others. Without changing our own behavior, we assume the other person is at fault and then desire to fix them.

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Hanlon’s razor principle

“Never attribute to bad intentions that which is adequately explained by ignorance, incompetence, negligence, misunderstanding, laziness or other probable causes”

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Interacting with difficult people

When dealing with difficult people, the amygdala in the brain, responsible for processing emotions, perceives them as a threat. This triggers the fight-or-flight response.

We either try to fight the behavior or flee from the situation without solving the problem. The interaction can release stress hormones that lead to a pounding heart, tense muscles, and anxiety. It can also drain us of energy and lead to overthinking.

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Strategies to handle difficult people

  • Separate the person from the behavior. It will allow you to identify your own limits and find what aspect of a person's behavior troubles you. "I find you obnoxious" vs. "The idea you suggested does not consider..."
  • Widen your perspective. Ask why you feel this way? What if your feelings are wrong? Could they be feeling insecure around you?
  • Don't react, act. Show a collaborative mindset by discussing the outcomes you both desire. Establish boundaries. Actively listen to the other person.
  • Take the hard road. Despite all your efforts, things may still not work out. Instead of being disappointed, involve the right people for guidance and ideas.

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“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”

Robert J Hanlon

Hanlon’s Razor Explained

  • We tend to associate completely disconnected events in a unique way, fitting them into our ‘story’, the narratives we build to create our distorted version of reality.
  • The patterns we think exist may not actually do so, but that does not stop us from assuming negative intent or malice in all that happens around us.
  • We need to realize that the world does not revolve around us and try to approach situations and events in a neutral, objective manner.

The Way To Apply Hanlon’s Razor

The basic rules that we need to apply:

  1. Move from assuming bad intentions towards exploring other causes.
  2. Engage in active communication.
  3. Embrace opportunities.
  4. Stay positive and driven.
  5. Stop blaming and focus on creative problem-solving.
  6. Assume a neutral, unbiased position.

Hanlon’s razor is a potent mental model which can be used in any situation where our first instinct is a negative assumption. Any wrong hypothesis related to the bad intentions of others is counterproductive and can play havoc in our lives.

About Fear

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  • Most people are in the dark about their fears. The unknown, random and unwanted scenarios or events that could happen in the future, forms the general anxiety known as fear. This can include...

The Colours Of Fear

Fear has the tendency to divide and isolate us, to shrink us to a tiny version of ourselves. Other negative emotions like jealousy, resentment, anger, bitterness and self-pity also have their roots in fear.

Some fear is good, like staying away from things or activities that can endanger us, but most fear is psychological and a false shadow inside our heads.

“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.”

“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.”