How to Deal with Difficult People, Part 2: Don’t Wage War
Very often difficult people don’t realize they are ‘waging war’ on others. They may have no idea their behavior is irritating, and even if they do, when confronted, they will immediately become defensive and start a fight which can deteriorate into a far worse situation. This is the worst way to deal with difficult people, because it keeps their subconscious programming “loop” running.
Refuse to play the ‘war’ game. It takes two people to fight. If you refuse to engage, the difficult person has no ground to stand on. If what you need to say is important to the workplace or project, simply wait the difficult person out for your chance to speak. Or after the meeting, speak with a supervisor about your idea alone. In this day of technology, emails and texts messages might also be a way to make sure your thoughts, opinions, and ideas can be heard.
Remember, the chances are that you’re actually interacting with a subconscious “program” that comes from that person’s distant past. It’s like talking to a robot that is programmed for one type of response, one type of interaction, and will often be very clever at manipulating conversations in order to construct the type of scenario it’s trying to play out.
Unfortunately, until the other person becomes aware that this is painful for them (not you) and decides that THEY need to change for themselves, there isn’t a whole lot you can do. Sometimes we just need to protect ourselves from the negative energy of others.
Emma began to write her ideas on projects down before team meetings. She also emailed these ideas to her supervisor ahead of time so her thoughts were clearly known and expressed. Her coworker still dominated the meeting, yet Emma had found a way to express herself. While still frustrated at her co worker’s behavior, she was able to take away the knowledge she had ‘won the battle’ by making sure her voice was heard, even if she hadn’t spoken.