Dealing with difficult people: Banishing the gloom

Dealing with difficult people can drain your energy and positivity so it seems life is full of black clouds and gloom.  It can be like a visit from the dementors so feared in the Harry Potter stories. How can you keep yourself positive, kind and cheerful when dealing with someone who seems relentlessly negative?

via GIPHY

 

Some people try the Harry Potter “Patronus Charm”–a massive burst of positivity and cheerfulness directed at the “misery guts.” In reality, this usually makes the situation and relationships worse. The “difficult person” usually reacts aggressively or defensively. They are unlikely to suddenly become sweetness and light. Nor are they likely to vanish as the dementors do.

Others just switch off or give up on the difficult person. This rarely improves the situation and usually is only a short-term solution.

Treating the other person badly will escalate any conflict, and doesn’t make things any easier for you.

So what can you do?

Dealing with difficult people: Three ideas to try

  1. Think about what you are telling yourself their actions or inactions mean. Your interpretation of the situation might not be accurate. What you interpret as coldness may be shyness or sadness. What if there was a reason for their behavior?
  2. Small and consistent acts of kindness are much more effective than huge bursts of positivity. Try something new.
  3. Ask them if there is anything that you do that annoys or upsets them. Perhaps you are the difficult one?

Related blog articles on awkward customers, healing relationships and difficult discussions. For more hints and tips sign up here.


If you would like some advice on a specific situation, contact me.