Dealing effectively with other people is one of the most critical abilities of daily living. It affects our level of success at home, in school, and on-the-job. Yet many of us are woefully inadequate when it comes to knowing the correct steps dealing with difficult people. Because of the lack of ability in this area, many of us consider neurotic or overly-critically people as “thorns in our sides” or “problems.”
An author and researcher in the field of human relations by the name of Robert Conklin once conducted a rather interesting experiment. He asked 1000 people “Do you feel you don’t get along with others?” He almost never found anybody who said “yes.” Tellingly, however, when he asked the same number of people to list their three biggest pet peeves–you guessed it–998 named gripes that were caused by other people!
Admittedly, any of us can be difficult in the eyes of others. However, truly difficult people don’t care about maintaining good relations with everybody. In any event, learning good relating skills as well as steps dealing with difficult people will help to keep us from being seen as difficult in the eyes of others, as well as to deal with those who behave in difficult ways towards us.
One of the primary tools for dealing effectively with others is called assertiveness. This simply means standing up for your own rights in a positive way without hesitating, making excuses or apologizing.
Shy people may have a particular need to learn assertiveness skills. Their lack of an outgoing, self-confident manner may be seen as weakness and may invite difficult behavior by others.
Broken down into its most fundamental components, there are two types of assertiveness demanding situations.
The first is dealing effectively with people who ask you to do something that you just don’t feel like doing. There are unfortunately people who will take advantage of others good natures to try to elicit excessive favors. There are those who seem to constantly and excessively need somebody else’s help.
The second type of assertiveness demanding situation, and one not always mentioned, is when people behave badly towards you, are rude, try to put you down, insult you or treat you in a patronizing fashion. In order to retain your self-respect and achieve success, you need to learn steps dealing with difficult people and effective responses to these various kinds of unreasonable behavior.