Learning to Handle People


It can be difficult to “grin and bear it” when dealing with people. A particularly nasty person or interaction can stay in your thoughts even when you are not in their presence. Suppressing those interactions can have a negative impact on your mental health. The famous book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” explains how it may be difficult to handle people.

Many times, such as at work, we are forced to interact with others whether we want to or not. There are, however, a few things we may do to decrease their impact on us. Here's the lowdown on unpleasant individuals, how to identify them, and how to deal with them – both in and out of the office.

What Makes Handling People Difficult

Everyone has unique personality traits and peculiarities. Personality clashes do not, by themselves, result in bad partnerships. Poor communication, a lack of empathy, or criticism is usually what destroys interpersonal relationships.

-Bad Communication:

They may frequently speak over you or even never listen to what you have to say. They could be subtle, passive-aggressive, or downright unpleasant. Whatever the case may be, communicating with them is never simple. And you never feel good about the chat afterward. Poor communication abilities can harm any relationship.

-Having no Empathy:

Some people don't appear to care about anyone but themselves. Because of their lack of empathy, they can be exceptionally difficult to deal with. They may have difficulty comprehending the feelings or circumstances of others. These folks frequently appear cruel and heartless.

-Bad Criticism:

People who are overly critical can be among the most difficult to be around. It may appear that nothing and no one satisfies their expectations. Unfortunately, the closer you are to someone who is harsh, the more their words hurt. This can be very distressing in intimate relationships.

How to Not Let People Affect You

It’s been said that when you change, so do others. Working on ourselves first is the safest method to ensure that things proceed as planned. After all, it’s difficult to get into an argument with just one person.

With this in mind, the first step in dealing with a difficult individual is to examine inward. Understanding why they influence you can help you identify the best way to deal with their conduct.

-Know how to react:

Which emotions does this person's behavior elicit in you? Do you feel irritated, offended, or dismissed? Being able to define your emotions helps to shift you from reactivity to curiosity - a much more productive (and less explosive) space.

-Keep your calm:

Even if you're dealing with a challenging person, blowing up on them usually doesn't help. Many times, they'll utilize your reaction (whether warranted or not) to rally support, making you appear to be "overreacting."

When you are frustrated with someone, begin by taking one or more deep breaths. Don't feel obligated to interact with them immediately. It's entirely fine to take a step back, regroup, and then follow up when you're feeling more in control.

-Work on your own issues:

People can irritate us because they remind us of ourselves. If we're already frustrated, whether with ourselves or with our own difficulties, their flaws will be unbearable.

Working with a coach has been extremely beneficial to me in handling difficult situations. It allows me to depersonalize what's going on and determine if there's an underlying dispute that has nothing to do with that person. And if the person is truly difficult, it's wonderful to have someone validate that as well.

This article is part of our
Business Coaching blog series. At Dataczar we talk to a lot of small businesses. We’ve found a few books that we keep recommending time and again. To better help our customers, we’ve added a Reading List for Small Businesses to our website. We encourage every small business owner to read and keep these timeless business books on their office shelf.