How to Deal with Difficult People to Your Benefit

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Yes, you may have difficult people in your life, but you can learn something from them. Let me tell you how to deal with difficult people in your life to your benefit.

Unless you are a hermit who lives under a rock, you are bound to deal with at least a few people regularly.  You know…the colleague at work, the neighbor, or the sister-in-law who knows how to push your buttons. before your pressure starts to raise just thinking about them, here’s some good news: you can learn a lot from the difficult people in your life.

Challenging situations present opportunities for learning and growth. Rather than let the difficult people in your life frustrate or irritate you, have you ever considered using a strategy that would allow you to make optimal use of the difficult people in your life to YOUR benefit?

Just think about it for a minute. What if that colleague, neighbor, or sister-in-law  you enjoyed being around the least actually enhanced your life? How powerful would that be? There are ways to make the best of the situation.  Read on to discover how to deal with difficult people in your life to your benefit.  It’s easier than you think!

Here are 8 wonderful ways you benefit from dealing with the difficult people in your life each day:

  1. You learn patience. Whenever you’re stuck dealing with that colleague, neighbor, or sister-in law  you’d rather avoid, use the opportunity to practice being patient. It may be difficult at first, but it will get easier with time as you develop the wonderful quality of patience.
  2. You learn to manage your emotions. You may find that your mood and emotions take a turn for the worse when dealing with the difficult people in your life. Guess what? You can turn that around and use that as an opportunity to work on maintaining your composure in a stressful situation. Take advantage of your enemy’s presence and use it to fuel your skills. That’s the ultimate in self control, inner-strength and personal power.
  3. You learn about yourself. Take a moment to ask yourself: why does this particular person drive me crazy? In many cases, you’ll find that the people you dislike possess characteristics that you also have. Think about those whom you like the least and see if you can learn something about yourself.  In my case, there is one person that does not seem to like me very much, and the feeling is certainly mutual from my end.  I found out through a mutual friend that she is the only girl with 5 brothers and is accustomed of being the center of attention, and likes to be in control. Turns out that in my immediate family I am an important source of control and decision making ( second only to me Dad), so I am not about to let her impose her thoughts, opinions, decision’s on me.  Knowing why she gets under my skin, helps me understand both her and myself better, and helps me keep the peace.
  4. You gain an enhanced ability to focus. One effective way to be patient and manage your emotions is to focus on a resolution to the issue. If your thoughts stay centered on solving the challenge of the situation, your emotions can’t get the best of you.  So I try to focus on saying something positive or cordial, or overlooking or disregarding something unthoughtful that she may say, rather than fighting fire with fire.  I plan in advance to be calm and cordial when dealing with difficult people, come what may, so I go into the situation with that focus and objective in mind.  Often we need to push ourselves past our comfort zones to find the beauty that lies on the other side.
  5. You learn and practice relaxation techniques. There’s no better time to practice relaxation techniques than when you’re under the gun with someone. Bringing your stress down just a notch or two has many benefits. It’s good for your health and for the situation.  Rather than adding fuel to the fire, breath in slowly and then breathe out, count to ten ( or maybe to 20) and bring your stress and irritation down a notch.  
  6. You learn how to influence others. It’s not very challenging to influence your friends. However, can you influence an enemy? That’s the ultimate test of your people-skills. Try every tactic you know to bring the other person to your side. Sometimes something as simple as a smile can do the trick to breakdown barriers and open the way for a calm and cordial interaction with a difficult person. You’ll be amazed that with practice and patience, your abilities will quickly improve.  Even when you experience a setback in dealing with the difficult prople in youe life, remember that setbacks are an opportunity to grow.
  1. You learn how to let go. Do you allow a negative interaction to ruin your day or even your week? Suffering longer than necessary is just plain silly. Learn to how to let things go and enjoy the rest of your day. The interaction can only continue to haunt you if you allow it. Turn your attention back to the present.


  2. You learn to be compassionate and forgiving.  Unfortunately, unknown to you,  difficult people have painful reasons that explain their behavior. You just never know what is going on in someone’s life that triggers a negative behavior toward you ( and others).  They might be going through ( or has gone through)  a devastating divorce, a death in the family, physical and emotional abuse, or serious health or financial challenges. As difficult as it may sometimes be, you do need to avoid taking the words and behavior of others personally. Even the kindest of people have a bad day or even a bad decade. Learn to forgive others.

It took me years to come to this conclusion, but I have come to realize that the people that challenge our thoughts and emotions are a gift.  The million dollar question is: are you using the difficult people in your life to your benefit?  Are you allowing your interaction with them to open up new avenues and opportunities for your own personal growth.  Are you using every occasion you interact with them as a wonderful opportunity to enhance your own life?

If you’re not using these challenging people and situations to your benefit, you’re ignoring an excellent opportunity for personal growth. Use this empowering thought for the day and tell yourself that you are ready for whatever ( or whoever) you meet today. Learn from the difficult people in your life. The skills you develop will  enrich your life and make YOU a better person.

Please share your thoughts with us!  Use the comment box below:

1. Who is the #1 most difficult person you have to deal with regularly?

2. Which of the 8 strategies above can you use to deal with that difficult person to YOUR benefit?


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