10 tips for dealing with difficult people
Some people are just plain hard to get along with. But you don't have to let them get under your skin. Calvin Sun offers advice for surviving your encounters with vexing customers and colleagues.
Unfortunately, difficult people — be they co-workers, bosses, or customers — face us constantly. The way we handle them can affect our job, our advancement, and even our health. Here are some tips to help you cope with these problematic relationships.
1: Try not to take things personally
Hey Rocky, did you get the license number... of the truck that run over your face?
In a memorable scene from the 1976 movie, Rocky is talking with his loan shark friend Gazzo, when the latter's driver asks this question. Trying to calm Rocky's furious reaction, Gazzo says, "Look Rocky, some people, they just hate for no reason."
Sometimes, people are difficult simply because of who they are. It might have nothing at all to do with you. So try not to take it personally — even if, as in the case above, the comment is directed at you. That person might be that way with everyone. Taking such comments personally only makes dealing with that person harder for you.
2: Ask questions rather than make statements
Difficult people often have strong opinions. Sometimes they're right, but other times they might be wrong. And when they're wrong, a more effective way to point this out is to ask questions rather than to make statements. By asking questions, you might be able to help the person recognize the issues in his or her own position, with less risk of a confrontation.
For example, if someone insists on keeping all of your backup tapes in the server room, resist your first urge to state the idiocy of the idea. Consider instead a question such as, "So what will we do if a fire destroys the data center?" If the person responds, "We will simply do a restore," ask, "How will we do a restore if the only backup tapes were destroyed in the fire?"