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10 Quick Tips for Dealing With Difficult People

Okay. I'd love to sit here and tell you there's no such thing as a difficult person, but we all know that's not true. Still, maybe it's more charitable and helpful to talk about how to deal with difficult situations (which happen to involve people).

10 Quick Tips for Dealing With Difficult Situations/People

  1. Limit your exposure.
  2. Stop trying so hard.
  3. Honor your limitations.
  4. Change your approach.
  5. Accept that some part of this drama is yours—own it.
  6. Let other people own their part.
  7. Keep it businesslike, especially when it's a business relationship.
  8. Stop rewarding the behavior.
  9. Let unhealthy relationships drift.
  10. Remind yourself it's not personal.
That last part—it isn't meant to let anyone off the hook. But the reminder may help you handle the situation more effectively. We're all doing the best we can, the best we know how. I know that can be a tough pill to swallow.

The key is to be hard-headed and soft-hearted: hard-headed about your need for boundaries and soft-hearted toward yourself for having them. So often when we’re frustrated, we do the opposite: we try to be soft-headed (“Maybe I should just give in ...”) and we end up hard-hearted. Capitulation rarely works.

But the hard-headed, soft-hearted approach almost always works. In fact, it’s the only thing I know that does.

We're all doing the best we can, the best we know how.

Gina DeLapa

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at