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How to deal with difficult people

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     There's a reason I'm an introvert. Whether we like it or not, difficult people are all around us. Yes the person who cut you off in traffic is a certain expletive, and yes that girl from high school you hated is another. However, I'm realizing in professional careers that there are just going to be  difficult people that we (as civilized human beings) just must interact with.

     I'm talking about the people you actually have to work with, not just smile at then grumble about afterwards and hope they didn't spit in your coffee. I've seen my fair share of difficult people, and I'll be the first to admit I haven't always responded to them in the best manner. Live and learn. Here are a few tips, both from experience and research, on how to deal with difficult people. 

1. Remember that it's all about them -  For the most part, people (including yourself) tend to only think about their circle of concern. Consider how you think about your day, you wake up and worry about your hunger, and your outfit, and what you have to do that day and so on. Everyone else does the same thing. We can't help that we're selfish beings, but acting like an adult means you have to show some consideration for others. If it makes you feel better, you can give yourself a gold star in your planner each time you're not a complete jerk back to difficult people. However, remember that people will very seldom notice your valiance of being the bigger person and keeping a level head, so buy a big pack of stickers.

2. Shake it off, Shake it off - Sorry for that. Sometimes simple people do things just to get a reaction out of you. This may come in the form of yelling, or shooting snide comments. If they see you aren't phased by their (clearly) pointless remarks they'll likely stop using them. No, that doesn't make you all high and mighty for ignoring them, so don't go talk about them behind their back. Don't give them that ammo against you. If difficult people are pushing your buttons, whether intentionally or not, ignore them until you feel it's necessary to respond, see below.

3. Confront em, but only if you really really really have to - Sometimes you've got to just put expletives in their place. When that time comes be a cool, non-grudge holding, comeback goddess. No amount of negativity can harm you. With this in mind respond to difficult people directly and in absolute private. Tell them directly what it is they do that upsets you (only superficially) and ask them if there is anything you could do to help them change their perception of you. This puts the ball in their court and makes you look like a considerate grown-up, and not the vengeful child that's probably filling your mind with certain adjectives.

4. Get over it - You are an influential person. But some, very sad, people are just punks. No amount of grace or private confrontations can change change this person's very unfortunate personality. Don't let these type of people affect your work or your outlook on it. There are just always going to be jerks, and the best you can do is to avoid them at all costs.

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