Whether you come across them at work, in traffic or on the soccer field, impossible people can ruin your day if you let them. There are ways to deal with impossible people. Follow these steps and you will be able to survive encounters with grumps, grouches and other impossible people.
- Be aware of hidden causes. No one can be cheery all the time. Sometimes there is just too much going on in the other person’s life for him or her to be agreeable when dealing with you. Consider that he may be having a bad day or that by the time he got to you, someone else had ruined his day. If the impossible person is someone you deal with often and this is an unusual behavior for him, cut him some slack and back away. If you’re dealing with a stranger, just get it over with so you don’t have to be around him any more.
- Don’t take things personally. Rarely does the impossible person care enough about you for you to be the cause of his attitude. So don’t take his behavior personally. It’s not you. He has the problem.
- Use your calm to influence his. It is likely that the person you are dealing with doesn’t even realize he is being impossible (see reasons above). Don’t exacerbate the situation by getting angry. Instead, calm down and let your calm relax the other person.
- Avoid reacting negatively. When it comes to impossible people, you cannot fight fire with fire. The situation just becomes worse if you react with anger, irritation or disgust. Don’t prolong the situation by contributing to it. Just do your business and walk away.
- Try the work around. Do you really have to deal with this person or can you just work around him? Assess the situation to determine your options.
- Be patient. Realize that dealing with a difficult person may require all the patience you have in reserve. Use your patience to wait him out.
- Know your boundaries. You do not have to be a doormat. There may come a time when the person crosses a line to offensive behavior or just does more than you can handle and keep your sanity. Know what your boundaries are. You don’t have to put up with someone who crosses them. Just remember that if the impossible person is your boss, spouse or relative, there may be consequences to your fighting back to refusing to deal with him.
- Just breathe, it will be over soon. The good news about dealing with impossible people is that it will end soon. If you’ve made it this far, take a deep breath. Exhale and remind yourself that once he is done with his rant or tirade, he will eventually go away.
Dealing with impossible people will take skill and patience. As long as you keep your calm, you can get through any confrontation.