Difficult people are everywhere. Such individuals are either unaware of the negativity they spread to people around them, or they get a kind of satisfaction from the chaos and complications they instill in other people’s lives. People who are vulnerable to the negativity that difficult people spread are the ones who are the most affected by their behavior. It’s true that we can’t control the people who enter into our lives, but we can control how they affect us.
Negative people can cause conflicts, complexity, or stress if we let them. Not all of us know that stress has a heftier impact to our health and productivity. According to studies, stressful situations can have a lasting and deleterious impact on our brain. It can put a toll to the neurons in the hippocampus, which is responsible for reasoning and memory, reducing its efficiency.
Difficult People Cause Stress that has a Lasting Effect on the Brain
Weeks of stress may cause temporary and reversible damage to neuronal dendrites. However, months of stress may lead to their permanent destruction. Stress is not only a threat to our health, but to our success as well.
A research from the Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany showed that exposure to strong negative emotions can cause a massive stress response in the brain. It’s the kind of stress which we can get from difficult people, and the ones we must avoid.
It’s essential to learn how to manage our emotions under pressure. Otherwise, it will affect our performance, and eventually our achievements.
When TalentSmart conducted a research with more than a million people, they found out that top performers know how to handle their emotions in times of stress. They remain calm and in control under pressure. Most importantly, they know how to deal with difficult people. Top performers are skilled at neutralizing abrasive people, using effective strategies that keep toxic people at bay.
Never be sucked into a negative person’s emotional spiral. Using the following techniques, you will be in control no matter how hard these people try to drag you down. Pick the best strategies that fit you the most. Here’s how smart people deal with difficult people:
Smart people know when and how to set the limits
Smart people know the fine line between lending a sympathetic ear, and getting sucked in a negative emotional spiral — this is when they set limits. Negative people and complainers want to involve as many as they could in their pity party; which are bad news. They fail to focus on solutions, and instead fish for sympathy to feel better about themselves.
It’s usual for people to feel guilty when refusing a pity party invitation. Some people think they may appear rude or callous, but smart people know it’s necessary when to distance themselves. One great way to set limits is to ask the complainers, how they plan to solve their issues. Once you do, the complainers will either redirect the conversation into a productive talk, or quiet down.
The rise from others
We can’t beat difficult people at their own game, so quit trying. Difficult people can make you go crazy because they are irrational. When their behavior goes against reason, it just means that you don’t have to respond to them emotionally. Smart people know that when dealing with irrational people, they need to distance from them emotionally, and only respond to facts instead. They steer clear from the emotional vortex, and they interact with difficult people like a science project.
They are aware of their emotions
Having the ability to control emotions requires awareness. Smart people can stop people from pushing their buttons because they can recognize when it’s happening. Entrepreneur.com described such situation, saying, “Think of it this way — if a mentally unstable person approaches you on the street and tells you he’s John F. Kennedy, you’re unlikely to set him straight. When you find yourself with a coworker who is engaged in similarly derailed thinking, sometimes it’s best to just smile and nod. If you’re going to have to straighten them out, it’s better to give yourself some time to plan the best way to go about it.”
They have boundaries
Establishing boundaries is necessary when dealing with or living with a difficult person. Smart people know that they are always in control during a chaos. You, too, can do it once you realize you can rise above these people. Once you do, you will be able to predict and understand their behavior, which will help you think rationally when situations require. You will know when and how to deal with them.
Establish boundaries by being conscious and proactive. Just like what the Entrepreneur said, “If you let things happen naturally, you are bound to find yourself constantly embroiled in difficult conversations. If you set boundaries and decide when and where you’ll engage a difficult person, you can control much of the chaos.”
The secret is to keep your guards up, and your boundaries strong when difficult people try to intrude.
They know how to fight and when to fight
Smart people choose their battles wisely. It’s important to live another day for the fight, especially when dealing with difficult people. However, it’s more important to know you won’t get severely damaged in a battle that’s not worth fighting for. You must be able to analyze your emotions, be clever with your responses, stand your ground when the time is right.
They focus on the solutions, not the problems
Where you focus your attention becomes your reality. This is why it’s important to have productive thoughts rather than focusing on the problems. Same goes when dealing with negative people.
Thinking about how difficult they are will only give you stress, and negative emotions that will affect your health and productivity. Instead, you must focus on the steps on how you will can improve yourself or the situation, and it will give a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions.
When dealing with negative people, think about how you will handle them, and it will make you feel in control. Focusing on the solution will reduce your stress, and the negative impact of difficult people to you and your life.
They forgive, not forget
Smart people don’t wallow in negative toils. Thus, they easily forgive. However, it doesn’t mean that they easily forget how they are harmed. Forgiving and forgetting are two distinct actions. Smart people forgive so they can easily move on, but they don’t give a wrong doer another chance to harm.
Don’t let other people’s mistakes or wrong doings bog you down. Smart people do it by being assertive in protecting themselves from people that may harm them again in the future.
They don’t buy into negative self-talks
It’s inevitable, sometimes you will absorb the negativity of other people. It’s not wrong to feel bad when someone is not treating you right. However, your self-talk, which are your thoughts about your feelings, can either give you a lift or drag you down deeper.
Never buy into your own negative self-talks. Once it happens, shrug it off. Negative self-talks are unrealistic, unnecessary and self-defeating. Avoid it at all costs, or you’ll end up getting sucked into a downward emotional spiral.
They get enough sleep
The quality of your sleep affects your cortisol and your stress hormone levels. A good night’s sleep increases your emotional intelligence, and helps you in managing your stress. At times that you don’t get the right amount of sleep, you get to lose your self-control, and you become more vulnerable to negativity around you. Thus, proper sleep will help you become more positive, clear-headed, aware, and proactive when dealing with difficult people.
They utilize their support system
Smart people know their limitations, and they don’t tackle everything on their own. To come up with an effective approach towards dealing with difficult people, it’s essential to recognize the flaws of your technique.
Smart people tap into their support system to gain perspective on a challenging person. According to Entrepreneur.com, you can polish your approach when dealing with toxic people by finding people who are “rooting for them and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation.” Furthermore, you must, “Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as explaining the situation can lead to a new perspective.”
Reaching out to other people who you can trust and can rely on will help you make more efficient ways to deal with negative people. Tapping into your own support system is essential because, “most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation.”