How to Deal with Difficult People

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Most of us probably have people in our lives that present us with communication challenges. In truth, there are no difficult people, only those that we experience as difficult.

What do we do when we encounter challenges in communicating? Before we do anything, getting centered can be helpful – taking a deep breath, reminding ourselves that it is an experience that will pass, and feeling ourselves anchored in our bodies and on the earth.

One person wrote some years ago that the way to deal with difficult people is to find out what they want and give it to them. There is much wisdom in this. We are all just trying to get our needs met, and some people are more challenged in that endeavor than others, sometimes leading to dysfunctional behaviors. If we can turn our attention away from the dysfunctional behaviors, and instead to finding out what they are needing or wanting, there we might find greater ease and the possibility of accord.

In getting our own needs met, are we straightforward? Do we say exactly what we want, or do we hint or disguise what we want? If the latter is true, what is the root of these behaviors? Do we truly believe we deserve to have our needs met, that it’s okay to ask for what we want?

It seems that so much conflict results from being afraid to ask for what we really want, or afraid that we won’t get our needs met. If we can understand this about ourselves and others, we can begin to have compassion for our human condition. We can be clearer in our own communication, and we can help others to be clear in theirs.

This one thing – understanding what we ourselves want and understanding what others want – goes a long way. A step further is to be okay with our own needs, and to be accepting of others’ needs.

We may not always be able to give others what they need from us, but at least, knowing what their needs are puts us in the position to do so, or to give an alternative, or at least allow the other person to feel heard and understood. In the same way, we may not always get our needs met from others, but at least, if we are communicating clearly and give ourselves permission to ask, we have a chance of getting our needs met.

The invitation this day is to listen deeply to what others are needing and to communicate boldly and clearly what we need or desire.

Enjoy the journey.


If you liked this article, check out our upcoming online class…

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3 Comments

  1. Bette Jean Bishop says:

    Rev Tool,
    Thank you for offering this class on line – what a perfect time to take a class such as this. Our world is filled with all sorts of different/differences in cultures, societies, countries, and even in our own United States of America –
    I will clear my Thursdays and look forward to taking your class. Thank you again, I am so grateful to be here now. Namaste, bj bishop

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