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Identifying Difficult People

Identifying Difficult People
  • The Perfectionist. If you are looking for quick results, perfectionists can be a source of frustration.
  • Control freaks. When you want to do things your way, overly controlling types can be a source of irritation as well.
  • Creative people. They’re essential if generating ideas is the plan but can cause frustration when you just want to get to delivering a simple result.
  • Shapers: Although shapers may seek to take over as and when they see fit, they can really help drive action.
  • Aggressive or defensive people. Assertion can help move a group forward. Aggression or defensiveness can have the opposite effect on a group’s dynamic.
  • Submissive people. The lack of confidence and fear of failure that many submissive types display can be a source of frustration as well. 

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Turn the situation inward and analyze your triggers and reactions to these situations. 

  • How do you react to a difficult person in your life?
  • How does your difficult person react to your reactions?
  • If the other person is the problem, are you growing unhealthy actions and reactions in response to him or her?
  • Are you the difficult person driving others to reactive behavior?
  • How do others react to your actions and responses?

Separate the facts from your assumptions. 

Separate yourself and your reactions from the negative emotions you may be feeling in the moment. 

Ask yourself two simple questions when you feel you’re being treated badly or unfairly.

  • What are the facts in this situation?
  • What’s the story I’m telling myself about those facts? What do I really want as an outcome?

Viewing the world through the lens of the person who triggered you. It doesn’t mean sacrificing your own point of view but rather widening your perspective. 

Ask yourself:

  • What is this person feeling, and in what ways does that make sense?
  • Where’s my responsibility in all this?

Sometimes your worst fears about another person turn out to be true. She invariably takes credit for your work. When this occurs, begin with this question:

  • Regardless of how I feel about what’s happening right now, how can I grow and learn from this experience?

It is all about breathing. Slow, deep breathing actually triggers something at the bottom of your spine called the Vegus nerve, which sends neurotransmitters to the brain that actually calm you down.

Take a moment to reflect on how you feel. Ask yourself questions about how you can respond to a difficult person, or how you can create a good outcome from the situation. 

Have a clear sense of self, what causes you tension and where your limits are.

  • Seek to understand the situation. Gain some clarity by asking questions while managing your own reactions.
  • Stick to the facts and acknowledge emotions. 
  • Paraphrase and check for accurate understanding. 
  • Stating your emotions or the impact that the person is having on you based on their behavior, if delivered correctly, can sometimes be the nudge that someone needs to realize that they are rubbing you the wrong way.
  • Seek the advice of others. You are not the only person who has ever had to productively interact with a difficult person. 
  • Keep records, if necessary. If things go south, at least you have a good record of what led to that place.

Take care of yourself.

By modeling well-being practices, you not only do good for your own mind and body, but you eliminate second-hand stress for all those around you. 

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RELATED IDEAS

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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IDEAS

Don't try changing people, try understanding them.

When you try to change someone they tend to resent you, dig in their heels, and get worse. The way to disengage a difficult person is to try understanding where they are coming from.

Allow Time For Questions

Through questions others can better process what’s happened, and it allows you to clarify and solidify details of the conversation. 

If you aren't sure that the other person fully comprehended the conversation, ask clarifying questions to check their understanding.