Dealing with Difficult People

Have you ever had to deal with a difficult person? I am guessing that the answer is probably “yes”!  The question should really be; have you managed to get the best out of that person or have you demonised them? Have you written them off as “impossible”? Here are a few tips about dealing with difficult people.

1. You can’t change other people

You can only change yourself and sometimes by changing your own behaviour, you will get a different behaviour from the other person. All relationships are two-way, some people are easier to get on with than other, but you are responsible for how you deal with the relationship.  Eleanor Roosevelt said “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent”.  How you feel about the other persons behaviour is entirely up to you.  Think about it, it could upset you or you could find it interesting.

2. If something is not working, do something different!

Why is it that we do the same thing, over and over again and expect different results? Think of the stereotypical English man abroad, when he is not understood by the “foreigners”, he repeats what he says in the first place, but louder! We are good at banging our head on the wall. The way you normally communicate with people may be working successfully for 70% of the time, but if it is not working for that “difficult” person, you need to be flexible. You need to adapt your own behaviour to get better results!

3. You are not a mind reader

We are good at assuming that someone’s behaviour means a certain thing, but we are only looking at things from our own viewpoint. If someone doesn’t respond to your email are they ignoring you, or are they just busy?  Does it necessarily mean that if someone is continuously late that they have no respect for you, or could it be that they are less aware of the time? If your boss forwards your email to someone else to deal with, is he trying to make you feel small or has he got other things on his mind? Have you asked the person or are you just assuming?

4. Find someone who does get on with the difficult person and watch them carefully to see what they do right.

That person has found a way to communicate with the “awkward” person that works, watch and listen to see what they are doing that is different from the way you do things.  Try doing some of the things they do and see what happens.  When you get good responses from that person, think about what you did that got the type of response you want. Do more of the it!

5. Listen to the language the person uses

We assume that since we are both speaking English that we are speaking the same language, but we all see the world very differently.  Some people are more visually focussed, others are more auditory and others may be more kinesthetic orientated.  People give away clues in the language they use about how they make sense of the world.  There is a good chance that your “difficult” person may have a different system from you.  Are you a seeing, hearing or feeling person?   What are they? 

Remember you can’t change the difficult person, you can only change yourself.  Sometimes when we change our behaviour we are able to build a better relationship which ultimately, will make you feel better.

In my next blog, I will go through some of the reasons you may not being getting on with someone, that you may not be aware of yet!

Choosing Happiness

One of the first tweets I read a few days ago was Malcolm Levene’s “If you continually move the goal post, you deprive yourself from being potentially happy. ” Now, while I believe he is making a valid point and I know what he is saying, it got me thinking. Why do we assume that happiness will be achieved when we reach our goals?   How often do we say “I will be happy when….. I am two stone lighter, have a boyfriend, have a Porsche, am successful, have a zillion pounds…..”? The list is endless.

I believe in goal setting and I know that I am my happiest when I have a mountain to climb and I know which mountain to climb, but why wait until the summit to feel happy?  Happiness is not something attached to an aspiration.  It is not something out there for you to achieve.  It is a choice. 

We choose what we pay attention to.  We are all capable of happiness, it’s in us already.  Watch any baby laughing at something silly like peek-a-boo and you know that happiness is something within.  So how do we choose happiness?

Start noticing when you are happy.  If you are feeling down, it might only be for a short fragment of time.  It can be as simple as a smile when you see someone, enjoying a cup of tea, smelling a flower, hearing a song on the radio. Pay attention when you catch yourself feeling happy and notice what it feels like.   There is a lot of truth is in the old saying “Count your blessings”.  You might find it useful to write down things that have made you happy during the day, things that you have seen, heard and felt.  After a while it will become easier to notice when you are happy.  You can choose what you pay attention to and you never know, happiness might sneak up on you!

5 Ways to Reject the feeling of Rejection

Have you been rejected?  Turned down for a job interview, a pitch, a date…?  Have you ever stopped yourself from asking for something because you have been scared of hearing a “no”?

Well, you are in good company, history is littered with famous rejections.  My favourite rejection story is Susan Jeffers who wrote the book “Feel the Fear and do it anyway”.  She said that her book nearly didn’t happen because she had so many rejections from publishers, one of them even told her that “Lady Di could be cycling nude down the street giving this book away, nobody would read it”. Yet, her book went on to become an international bestseller.

Here’s some news for you; the more you grow and push your boundaries, the more times you will hear “no”. It is not getting rejected that is the problem, but how we feel about it.  The difference between success and failure is generally the will to keep on trying.  How we handle rejection will influence how successful we can be.  Holding ourselves back because we are scared of being rejected, is limiting ourselves. Here are 5 ways to see rejection differently:

  1. You lose out on 100% of opportunities you don’t go for – Simply put, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.  It is useful to remind yourself of things you have already achieved that you wouldn’t have, if you hadn’t picked up the phone, written a letter or asked a question.  Thinking about something won’t make it happen without some action.  Have you stopped yourself from going for something, by thinking yourself out of it? Remember things are only possible if you go for them.
  2. Your life does not become worse when you ask for something and someone says “no”.  It may not be better, but it is no worse. If you ask someone on a date and they say “no”, you didn’t have a date before and you don’t have a date afterward, your life is no worse.  If you apply for a position and you don’t get it, you didn’t have the position before and you don’t have the position afterwards, your life is no worse.  It only becomes worse in our head if we generalise the experience to include all the times in our life we have been rejected.  We are incredibly good at making ourselves feel bad.  If you want to make yourself feel even worse, you could even attach the emotion of how you felt when you didn’t get a part in the school play or chosen for the team. Stop it!  Make your positive experiences stronger.  We all have success stories, write them down.  Remember the times when people said “yes” to you and remember how it felt when you weren’t expecting a “yes”.
  3. Rejection is an event not a person.  There is a saying that you put a proposal on the table, it is helpful to think of your proposal (audition, cv, book) as being outside you. Imagine it in a box, when someone rejects your proposal, they are saying “no” to the proposal and not “no” to you.  Do not take it personally, the rejection is about the proposal, the skill, the offer.  It is not about you. You cannot control other people’s behaviour, but you can change the way you feel about rejection.
  4. Treat Rejection as Feedback. Use rejection to improve your performance for the next time.  Is there something you could have done better?  Were you properly prepared? Did you catch the person at the right moment?  Try to work out how to improve it each time.  Why not use it as a learning tool?
  5. SWSWSWSW Some will, some won’t. So, what? Someone’s waiting!  Remember one person is never statistically significant.  Have you ever had a great idea, only to quash it because your other half or friend didn’t like the idea?  Imagine taking a poll of one person for an election and gauging the results for the whole country based on that individual!  We all need to develop a “next” mentality.  If you believe in your idea, there is a strong chance that there is someone out there who agrees with you.  You just need to keep on going until you find them!

I hope you have found this useful.  I would love to hear your comments!

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