Ten tips on dealing with difficult people

Okay, I’m not an expert at this. But for Chapter 10 of Warm Cup of Wisdom, I interviewed some people who are better at it than I am.  Here are the top 10 tips I culled from their insights.

  1. Realize: to this person, YOU are probably a difficult person. Examine why.
  2. Rather than avoiding conflict, find a non-threatening way to address the underlying issue. Tell the person “I need you to know how I felt when you…”
  3. Try to avoid controversial topics that bring up strong emotions. This does work for a short time but is super hard to do.
  4. Decide how much emotional energy you want to put into this relationship. If you don’t get a lot out of the friendship, perhaps you should end it. (Note: doesn’t work with relatives!)
  5. If someone criticizes you in a hurtful way, pretend you are surrounded by a clear plastic dome. You see the person and hear the comments, but they go “boing!” and bounce off. Don’t let them go into your heart.
  6. Find something you have in common and talk about that, instead of your differences. This will help you view him as a human being who just sees the world in a different way.
  7. Don’t get yourself entangled with controlling people. If you can’t get the person out of your mind, then he’s controlling you, even when you’re not speaking.
  8. Accept and care for yourself and realize what you need.
  9. Don’t go off by yourself and figure the whole thing out. Instead stay calm, adopt an attitude of curiosity, and ask the person what is making her feel the way she is – and try to really hear the answer.
  10. Focus on the person’s intentions. If you assume she has good intentions, you’ll be calmer in reacting to things that otherwise would annoy you.

About dorijonesyang

As a former journalist in Hong Kong, I love writing books that bridge the gap of understanding between China and America. My new book, When the Red Gates Opened: A Memoir of China's Reawakening, will be published in September 2020.
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