A few things are inevitable in life: death, taxes…. and dealing with difficult people. From work to friendships to romantic relationships, difficult interactions can hit us from all angles and can take a heavy toll on us.
A few days ago, I was doing some much needed reorganizing and I found this packet from a class I think I took many moons ago. I can’t remember who taught it, but the packet was filled with amazing and hilarious “rules” for dealing 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 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 for dealing with difficult people:
The 24 Hour Rule:
It is imperative to wait 24 hours before reacting when we feel angry. This is because:
- natural consequences will take care of the problem
- you can calm down and come up with a different perspective
- the issue is no longer important
The Elephant Rule:
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 Madhouse Rule:
While walking, you see a sign on a building that says “Madhouse” and for some reason you hear a man shouting from one of the windows saying: “HEY!! You man, are so crazy!”
Do you really believe him? Do you take it personally? Do you let it bother your? 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 is trying to push your buttons and you know it? This would be a good rule to apply.
The Hospital Rule:
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.
You will definitely live better and you will have less stress in your life.
The Blind Man Rule:
Have you realized what happens when you see a blind person alone trying to cross the street or standing in the middle of a crowded place? Somehow, you feel that you are blessed because you have your sight to see and guide you. You can see where you are going and what to avoid. If you see that this person needs help you would probably approach him and offer your assistance, right? You would not hesitate to help if you were needed.
Well, in life sometimes we meet people that come across as difficult but underneath the surface, they are really blind even if they have sight. Yes, there are people who have limitations, a disadvantage, who have been hurt emotionally, who feel lost or damaged. If we could only understand them and feel compassionate, we would then try to help them instead of being hostile.
Probably, and without looking for it, we would get more than what we gave. Not to mention that in this way, we improve the relationship, sweeten someone’s life and improve the flavor of our life.
The President Rule:
Who holds the most important position in the government?
Who is the person that has the highest position in a corporation or firm?
“The President or the CEO”
How do we treat people that are in these high positions?
We treat them with extra consideration. We try hard to be polite and to be extremely careful with everything we say or do. Otherwise we could get into trouble. Therefore, we don’t make fun of them, we treat them with respect, we try to be helpful, we address them with a good tone of voice, gentle words, and do our best to be on their good side. In other words, we behave our best.
The Bee Rule:
Sometimes, whether we like it or not, there are people that try hard to provoke us. No matter what we do there are overbearing, like a bee buzzing around out heads. And when a bee stings, it really hurts. With these people it is easy to lose control and react in a negative way.
What do we do then?