How to Deal with Difficult People

There are some things that are unavoidable in life: birth, death, taxes, stress on the job and dealing with difficult people. From work, to platonic to romantic relationships, difficult interactions can hit us from all angles and can take a heavy toll on us.

 

One rest day last week, I was doing some much needed house cleaning and reorganizing, I found my NLP Trainer certification class notes I went to a couple of years ago. I can’t really remember who taught it, but the notebook was filled with amazing and humorous “rules” for on how to deal with difficult people. Within these humorous insights are pearls of wisdom that can help you keep your cool during an argument or any other trying exchange.

 

I really wish I could give you the source, but no names were written (handwritten using my “kinahid ng manok handwriting”) on the sheet so all I have is the information. I couldn’t keep it all to myself though, so here are some amazing (and I’d even say life-changing) rules.

 

The Elephant Rule

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Which applies mostly to anyone above you like your very strict parents, boss, or anyone who has the authority around you.

Picture that a huge, fat elephant is coming your way. What do you do? You move away and let the elephant go by. The same is true when someone negative, angry or bitter is coming your way. Instead of getting in his way, just move and let him go by. Don’t provoke or try to argue with him because he might stamp you.

 

 

The Hospital Rule

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Imagine a very sick person that is lying on a hospital bed, hooked up with so many tubes that it’s almost impossible for him to move. You are sitting on the other side of the room feeling very thirsty. You notice that there is a glass of water right next to the sick person. What do you do? Do you ask him to pass you the glass? After all it is just a small glass, no big deal, right? It is obvious that you would not bother him; you know better than that because he’s so sick! You don’t expect him to pass the glass to you and you don’t get angry or take it personally.

 

And that is exactly what you should do when you are with people that cannot understand what you need, or are incapable of doing, saying, or giving what you would want. It is much better if you do not ask them, and do not expect them to do something for you.

 

24 Hour Rule

Baristar_Clockwork

It is better and agreeable to wait 24 hours before reacting to someone or something when we feel angry because:

  1. Natural consequences will take care of the problem
  2. You can calm down and come up with a different perspective
  3. Most of all, the issue is no longer important

 

The Madhouse Rule

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Imagine you are walking on a crowded place. While walking, you see a sign on a building that says “Madhouse” and for some reason you hear a man shouting at you from one of the windows saying: “HEY!! You ugly #$@%!, are so crazy!”

Do you really believe him? Do you take it personally? Do you let it bother your inner peace? Or do you ignore him and think: “Poor guy, he is locked in the madhouse and yet he thinks that I’m the crazy one.”

You might find it humorous or might even feel compassion, right?

Well, you could have the same attitude towards other people, especially with strangers, people that hardly know you, or people in the street. For examples: why bother to react when another driver insults you? Or when a coworker or housemate is trying to push your buttons and you know it? This would be a good rule to apply.

Trust me, you will definitely live better and you will have less stress in your life.

 

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