How do you deal with difficult people?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, so today I went in to volunteer, not sure I really wanted to or not because Jane isn't going anywhere soon and she honestly does go out of her way to start trouble. This wasn't the first time and I wasn't her first.

    When I spoke with head honcho she told me that avoiding Jane and not speaking to her was not an option as it made everyone "uncomfortable." Apparently she asked "everyone" and a few volunteers threatened to quit over the "tension." Whatever. I really don't know a better way to not get into it with somebody who doesn't like you than to leave them alone, but head honcho had a huge problem with that. Since I knew this scenario would play out again and again with Jane, I decided to find another place to spend my free time. So I left. I had brought a great lunch...a really yummy salad...and I forgot it so now it's there and I really don't want to go back and get it. Bummer!!!!

    The next place I volunteer at will be temporary, at least in my mind. I will not commit long term, at least in my heart. I will do it as long as it's pleasant and I feel like I'm useful to others who need something. When that ends, I will try something else. That's the beauty of volunteering.

    Right now I am overly stressed because of Mr. 35 and I don't need Jane to add to the mix.

    How do you deal with difficult people? I have tried both telling them off and being silent and being silent seems more effective, as long as I am appropriately willing to engage them when neceessary, but it still doesn't work THAT well when somebody is just plain not going to like you. I was nice to both Peggy and Jane. Maybe I'm lacking some skills here.
  2. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Hi MWM,

    It's hard to deal with people who just don't want to like you.
    It is their loss ya know. I try and remember "Live and let live" that I learned in Al Anon/AA.
    To let people be who they are without my interference.
    Sometimes that's very hard to do...but you never know why people are acting the way they do. Sometimes it's not about "us" at all...there is often something else going on.

    I hope you will not remain uncomfortable at the volunteer job.
    And...I hope you will be able to enjoy what you are doing and just focus on the work.
    And maybe just use your good listening skills...People love to be "heard" and acknowledged.

    You are a good person MWM...It'll work out.
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Sorry it didn't work out. And I think it is a wise decision to not spend your free time with people, who only give you grief, if it can be avoided. Like it can in this case.

    However; How I deal with difficult people? Well, fake, fake, fake, fakety fake, it is. At least if they are insignificant for me personally. If the person who is acting difficult way is someone I'm very invested in in personal level, it is different. But when it is a colleague, distant family member, friend of the friend, someone I volunteer with, parent of a friend of my children or someone like that, I simply fake my butt of. I'm in fact more polite, pleasant and agreeable to people I don't like than to people I like. I try to stay calm, collected and friendly. Listen and make agreeable sounds and talk less. Smile and nod a lot. I just don't give much from me other than that. If they are somebody I have to work with, on the top of that, I try to be very to the point and brief with actual business, make things very clear and be extremely punctual.

    In fact many of the people I don't like think I'm much nicer person than people I do like. :rofl:

    Fakety Fake SuZir is very sunny and agreeable person :lady:
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    MWM, I'm sorry you had to leave your volunteer job, but it certainly sounds like you made the right choice. Sometimes all we can do is exit from drama.

    I think each scenario with a difficult person is unique and would require a different solution. As you just encountered with Jane, in this scenario, it was best to leave to protect yourself in an environment which was not going to protect you.

    I have had many difficult people presented to me in my life, as we all have. For me, the ways I deal with it is, first I look at myself and try to find any possible way I may have contributed to this issue. If I have I will work that out for myself. I believe, for me, that we attract certain people and scenarios to learn from. So, this could be a lesson for me to change me, or to walk away, or to address it, or to ignore it. Looking at it that way is empowering, I am not a victim of another, instead it's a life lesson.

    I always try honesty first, I try to express my own truth and what my needs are. It's not for a desired outcome though, I think that's where we can fall short, if we're attached to a certain outcome, we really won't be communicating clearly, we will be trying to get that outcome. Once I get clear on that, I tell the truth. Sometimes I get what I want, sometimes I don't. But what I always get is the satisfaction of expressing myself truthfully. That means a lot to me. I realize that others don't consider that important, but it is important to me. I can then move on knowing I did my best, I then have no regrets and can walk away feeling 'clean.'

    I think you did a good job. You did what you could and you couldn't change it. So, moving on is the best option.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    SuZir... you're OBVIOUSLY much more neuro-typical than a lot of us... I'm so bad at social skills that I would have no idea what to fake... my "normal" is already "fake", so where do I go from here?
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    All you had to do with Jane is be pleasant when she was being pleasant and ignore her when she wasn't, telling her off tactfully as required.

    There were at least 2 fellow employees who behaved as if they hated my guts for a month........perm employees. Now both are pleasant as punch and downright chatty. Now that I've been there a while I see why they acted as they did. Most newbies don't make it past the first week........and others are such horrid workers they make your job 10 times harder than it needs to be. I've seen this too often with jobs not to recognize it for what it was.........and honestly, I just don't worry about it, regardless. I'm not there for them, Know what I mean??

    I use the above technique with everyone. It works 99.9 percent of the time. Otherwise I wouldn't have a job right now. lol

    Odds are Jane is moody and confrontational.
  7. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    I try Occupational Therapist (OT) stay away from them and only speak when I have to be professional!! It's hard though. and I don't always keep it together.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    But Lisa...
    I can't speak for MWM, but for me? ummm...
    "telling her off tactfully" is an oxymoronic statement. I simply don't have the social skills to be that sophisticated.
    Can you teach us how to do that?
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Suzir, I LOVE YOUR ANSWER. Next time I am going to try it :) You are more neurotypical than me too...lolol.

    Lisa and everyone, I was not given the choice of ever ignoring her. And it is in a very small space where everyone is packed together at one table doing the same things. Picture a factory line. It's that close together so there is really nowhere to physically avoid another person. The head honcho who started the whole thing was not okay with silence and Jane was very loud and combative and when I brushed past her once, which I couldn't help, she shouted, "STOP WITH THE ATTITUDE!" Then she was about to go off on me but boss stepped in and pulled her aside. But that was how it was to work with her.

    She is an alcoholic who has been in jail for DUI's (she still can't drive). She is also a hoarder, which I think is why she likes to work can find all sorts of junk to take home and she does!!! :) She has bipolar and is on disability, but so am I. However, Boss told me she might be drinking again and sounded like she wasn't too found of Jane, but Jane has been volunteering there now for over ten years and it's sort of her life so she told me to leave rather than Jane when I explained that I felt silence was best.

    Recovering Enabler, a kinder person than you who can always come up with the right words I have never met. Your post was wonderful. Made me feel better. Apparently, the whole crew of volunteers (maybe six of them) stuck up for Jane and said I was picking on her as well as her picking on me. I didn't even talk to her, but whatever. I do not do well with crowds, although I try very hard to be friendly and pleasant. Jane has the ability to, say, crash into me on purpose and make it look like I crashed into HER on purpose and then yell about it...Know what I mean??

    I'm going to volunteer six months the most at each place, or at least that will be my goal. There is a lot of need, especially now, and plenty of places to experience different things and people. If something is unpleasant, I will leave. Meanwhile, just in case it was me, I asked my therapist to help me work on my deficient social skills so that I can come across better in a crowd. Can't hurt.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    And maybe keep an eye on the type of situation... an "assembly line" might not be your cup of tea, so don't pick a volunteer job that requires being so much in the same physical space.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Trust me, IC. I learned that lesson.

    Meanwhile I'm reading up on body language and good Yes, I need the tutorial, which is why I can relate to our difficult children who have no inborn social skills and struggle so badly because of them.
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I pretend that they're someone I have no history with and treat them exactly they same way I would any other person who doesn't matter one little bit to me. Polite and friendly. I don't hear a single mean thing that's said, and if it's shoved in my face I'll respond with something Dolly Madison-like - "What an interesting idea! That would make a great short story!".

    Shut them down.