Following direct life experience and some knowledge I derived from reading Harry Potter (sic!), I would like to share with you some insights on how to accomplish the difficult task of dealing with difficult people.
1. The core confidence
The key in dealing with difficult people is to work on your core confidence, to nourish that unbreakable part inside yourself, to acknowledge what truly makes you happy and be able to produce your own supply of joyful energy.
Dealing with difficult people can be draining because yeah, you guessed it, they feed on your energy. But you get to choose what you allow in or not. You are the master of your own thoughts, feelings and energy. And that is the free space in which you operate.
2. Choose your gang wisely
There’s a famous quote on the Internet saying that “you are the sum of the five people you spend most time with”. If your friends are cheerful, so will you be. If your closest company has a fixed mindset and spends time complaining or attending the Blame Game Championship, there are low chances to evolve. Moreover, if for instance your co-workers are bullies, there is a high likelihood you become like them. Copying behavior is the most common human strategy of learning.
The environment in which you function sets the tone for what you consider acceptable. If you stay too long in a toxic environment, you might think that’s the common rule, when in fact it’s not, it’s just a bubble. There’s a big world out there and you could as well be somewhere, flooded by sunshine and blowing soap bubbles.
3. Don’t take things personally
Difficult people have little knowledge of fair play. Expect personal attacks and put-down attempts, paired up with a misuse of logic. Derailing the purpose of the talk/gathering at personal level is the trap they try to pull you into.
There’s another old saying about “people who will try to cut off other people’s heads in order to appear taller”.
Don’t catch the bite and try to keep your focus. Acknowledge that what they are saying or doing gives a clear sign about themselves and that they are making noise to mask their own insecurities. The lack of fair play, the rudeness, the bad jokes and bad mouthing other people, all these define them, not you.
But you get to decide what level you want to operate at.
4. Fixing problems
You might feel sorry for them and attempt to fix their problems. But this is another trap, some people believe owning a problem increases their sense of importance. They want attention, not their problem fixed.
Best thing you can do is to empower them to fix their own problems.
5. Envy is not a sign of admiration and jealousy not a sign of care.
Competition and its consequences are engrained in the spirit of humanity. We have the biblical story of Cane and Abel, in which Cane wants all the love of God for himself only.
In Romania, we have a story in which two shepherds kill their co-shepherd out of greed and envy.
Christ knows who betrayed him and gave the poisonous kiss and they eat and drink and he knows what will happen.
There’s also another story of greedy children fighting over a piece of cake, without knowing what’s inside, as if getting their mouths dirty is a matter of life and death. Of survival.
There are several levels of consciousness and we can operate at any of these levels, from the instinctual to the spiritual.
6. Harry Potter knowledge applicable to your personal space
You might need an effective strategy to deal with difficult people and I have found some answers straight from J.k. Rowling’s imagination!
You will need: some good laughter and a happy memory.
The boggart is a versatile creature that can take any form, embodying the biggest fear of the person in front of it. What you need to do is to pull out the magic wand and use the charm: Ridikulus! Acknowledge how ridiculous the situation is and take a good laugh about it. And the boggart disappears.
The Dementors are creatures that suck dry hope and happiness out of people. What you need to do is to invoke your happiest memory, pull out the magic wand and use the charm: Expecto Patronus! There, with a bit of focus, you can be happy again.
I hope you find this text useful. If you have other topics you would like discussed, don’t be shy, write to me!