Self Improvement

Dealing With Difficult People

For as long as humans have existed, someone has been irked by one or more of them. That may not be a scientific fact but it's definitely a hunch I'm sure many would agree with. Here's how to cope and thrive regardless.

For as long as humans have existed, someone has been irked by one or more of them. That may not be a scientific fact but it's definitely a hunch I'm sure many would agree with.

Around here we recognise the power we have in creating our experience of the world around us. It's hard work but worthy work made even harder by the existence of people who seem to have been specifically sent to ruin your day. As long as humans have existed, people have been irked by one (or more) of them. They can be found everywhere from work to home to the many streets and rooms in between. And the best part is, these people seem to have been custom made to irk us in the very specific ways that we find irksome.

We could tell them to stop being annoying. But when was the last time someone telling you to be less annoying actually changed the way you showed up in any sort of positive way? Exactly.

So we can't change other people's behaviour to suit our specific needs. So what can we do?

Step 1 -

It'll come as no surprise to anyone that tackling this starts with introspection. Other people don't cause our feelings, our thoughts do. What's annoying to one person won't be annoying to someone else. If you've ever been stuck in the middle of a pair of duelling friends (hello high school!), you'll understand how annoying traits are totally subjective fully at the mercy of our own world view.

So what are the thoughts we're having about this person and where are they coming from? What thoughts are they triggering in us exactly and why? Make a list.

Step 2 -

Once we have our list, we need to go through it and work out what's real and what isn't. What are we making up and what do we know to be a fact? This ends up being quite difficult because often times we take our thoughts about other people as facts rather than the thoughts they are. For example "He talks too much" or "She's really bossy" might both feel true but they're just thoughts, not facts.

Step 3 -

Once you've separated fact from fiction, you can start to figure out what's actually happening and how you want to show up in the face of the situation. We can't control how other people behave around us or how they feel about us, we can only control how and when and if we show up in the face of situations that suck. This is where boundaries come in. Boundaries are the set of rules and criteria you create for yourself that dictate what you are and aren't willing to tolerate for yourself.

Boundaries only work if you're willing to enforce them with the right intentions.

Boundaries don't work if you've set them up to alter other people's behaviour. If you find someone annoying, telling them they're annoying every time you see them is not a boundary. But removing yourself from situations they're involved when you see behaviour you don't like is a great boundary.

Not everyone has the luxury of never having to work with/be in a friendship group with/sit next to/share a flat rental with only their favorite hand-selected people although I suspect even Beyonce gets irked on occasion. We always have an element of control, even when it doesn't feel like it. This is as good a place to start as any.

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