We can never get away from people. People are necessary partners in achieving goals and visions. People can either propel or contribute to your stagnation or stress. Cooperative people are easy to deal with, but how do you function when faced with difficult people?
Difficult people can sabotage plans set at work, at home, in church and in our general journey of life. Today my focus is to prepare you to deal with the difficult people. Remember, doors are people. How we deal with them determines how far we go.
Discern them. Discerning gives you a head start. Discern their motives and the reason for their behaviour. This will help you know if it’s destructive or constructive difficulty. You must distinguish between the Peter and Judas in your life.
Manage them with wisdom. Difficult people will ‘look for you’, it is your responsibility to ensure they do not find you. Know when to avoid them and when to indulge them. When to speak and when to be silent.
Know yourself. Know your own buttons. It is quite frustrating when difficult people know your buttons and you do not know your own. Understand what gets on your nerves and when it gets on your nerves. Know your triggers and responses. Difficult people often know their prey better.
Let them be themselves. Try to learn and accept others for who and what they are. If you are aware of what to expect from certain people, you are better able to manage your reaction to their (in)actions. Do not argue or try to prove a point, as difficult people will enjoy dragging you into the mud with them. Let them be who they are, you’re not the Messiah.
Disarm them. Always do the positive thing that they do not expect you to do, this will be like pouring hot coals on their head (Proverbs 25:21-22). They should never know that they get under your skin. Be kind when they expect war, smile when they expect hostility, apologize when they expect a tussle – always do the opposite! This is not easy to do, sometimes we are tempted to scold/tell them off. When you get upset, deal with it in private, let them never see that they get to you.
Pray for yourself. Difficult people often expose what we struggle with. Pray for yourself that God gives you grace, from grace you will receive the ability to love them, from love wisdom will take root and from wisdom, patience will arise! At times my dear friend, difficult people present for us opportunities to be better people. They can help us change and through our example in love, wisdom and patience, we just might inspire them to change.