5 Tips to Deal with Difficult People

After a decade in the service industry as a waitress and over 3 years in an office setting interacting with co-workers internally and with clients externally, I’ve dealt with a lot of people. God, think of all the germs….

I’ve liked some, I’ve enjoyed some, I’ve detested some, and I’ve forgotten some already. Some days are bad for you and a smile on a stranger won’t help and other days are bad for everyone else and flashing your pearly whites won’t do them any good either. It’s hard to always be aware of the unknown: you won’t ever know what goes on in the background of other’s lives. You’ll never know where they’ve come from, where they’re going, who they’ve loved, or who they’ve lost and how all of those factors have shaped them.

Just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean that they’re a bad person. I try to wake up every morning with a smile on my face and an open heart willing to help those who need me despite whatever I’ve got going on in my life.

“You lose a lot of people when you’re focusing on yourself. Find no shame in evolving.” – Billy Chapata

Below you’ll find a few solutions you can practice to help mitigate any frustration when dealing with people in general:

  1. Kill Them with Kindness.

    If I’ve learned anything from being a waitress it’s that your smile and your manners are your best weapons to combat  hungry, grumpy customers. They are coming to your establishment and you’re a part of their dining experience whether you want to be or not. Be happy to serve them. Be happy they’re going to give you a tip. Be happy they’ll be leaving soon.

  2. Control Yourself.

    You can control your actions, your attitude, your body language, and the way you treat others. No, not everyone is going to be nice to you right off the bat. Some people have been burned too many times that even the smallest act of kindness is too much for people to give anymore. Make them feel comfortable enough that you’ll be their exception. And, remember you can only control what you do and not what they do.

  3. Move On.

    Be strong enough to know that if you’re in a situation that is toxic you can put an end to it. In my own coming of age (being a twenty-something) I’ve struggled a bit up until recently with the act of moving on. I don’t give one-sided friendships, miserable jobs, or unpleasant dating a second thought anymore. I’ve wasted too much time explaining to others what they know they’re doing wrong. Decide that you’ve had enough and move on.

  4. Talk It Out.

    When I advise you to tell them what’s up, I don’t mean cuss them out. I mean talk to them like a human being, who honestly might not know any better. I recommend this especially if you’re dealing with something long term where your options are to either 1.) go crazy or 2.)have a conversation. The second option might take a little weight off your shoulders. Best case scenario is that you talk it out and things change. It’s not impossible.

  5. Breathe.

    Breathe in. Breathe out. Get some air. Start meditating. Turn your music all the way up. Count to ten. And, if that doesn’t work, count to ten again and again until they stop annoying you.

What do you do when you’re around people that irk you?

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