We’re all a little difficult at times. I admit that I can be a challenging person in certain situations, but I’m not different than anyone else. Some people, however, are a little more challenging than others. They’ve got big egos and think they’re way is the best way. We all know the type. I like to call them difficult. Back in my corporate training days, I remember writing a course about “dealing with difficult customers”. I talked a lot about active listening and patience. But that’s when it’s with customers, you kind of have to deal with them as part of your job, but what if it’s a relationship? Someone you’re dating? Do you really have to?
Difficult people are a reality of life, some people are more easy going than others. I have become much more easy going as I got older and life happened to me. I realized that you can’t control what happens to you but you CAN control how you react to what happens to you. I am a bit of an impulsive person and that definitely gets me into trouble that’s for sure. Now back to difficult people … what if these difficult people are the people you’re dating? How do you deal with difficult dates? Sometimes we meet people that are great but they’re just a bit more difficult than most … it’s really truly a case of “it’s not me it’s you”. What do you do? First and foremost you have to decide whether or not this person is even worth your time. Sometimes they are more trouble than they are worth and you just need to move on. If you do decide to stay, here is what works for me when dealing with difficult people when dating …
It’s NOT Me It’s YOU
Difficult people manipulate situations to maneuver them to their favor, that’s something you need to keep in mind when dealing with these kinds of people. They will do what they have to in order to get what they want. They are also very unpredictable and moody. You never know what to expect, but really, when you learn their ways you learn how to deal with it accordingly. You need to meet them where they are at not where you are.
- Keep Calm. When dealing with difficult people you have to keep your head. You can’t be reactive, you need to step back and think for a moment. You don’t want to feed the beast. Trust me, from personal experience being the difficult person and dealing with them, a level head is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal.
- Leave Them Alone. When dealing with a moody person you just need to leave them alone when they want to be alone, they’ll come back when they’re ready. Don’t be too pushy or bug them. People just need their space sometimes, some more than others. Think of yourself when you want to be alone, it’s the same thing. It’s typically not personal. If they go and never come back, well then move on. You don’t need that kind of drama.
- Active Listening. Show them you get where they’re coming from by repeating what they said in different words. Saying “I understand you’re having a bad day because of X, sorry to hear that”. Listening and asking questions leads to more accurate understanding. Ask them at this point if there’s anything you can do. If not, then leave them alone. If yes, then try and understand where they are at.
- Understand. Find out why they are being so difficult. Maybe there’s something going on. Be available and clarify what’s happening to them without being pushy. Agree with them if there is some truth to what they are saying. Validate their feelings. If they are taking out their frustrations on you then you need to find out why. It is never OK to be abusive, so don’t tolerate abusive language or behavior. However, do let them know you’re there if they need to talk and leave them alone until they are ready.
- Stay Positive & Be Forgiving. I’ve said before negativity breeds more negativity. If you stay positive with a difficult person then they will turn around. No good can come out of reacting against someone who is in a negative and difficult mood. Protect yourself and spend your energy in more productive, positive places. Don’t hold on to all the negativity and just forgive. Let go. These difficult people are in a bad place at that moment in time. It’s not worth holding a grudge against them. They usually aren’t coming from a malicious place and if they are and you know that they are, that’s when to cut them from your life.
Still think these people are worth your time?
That’s for you to decide, sometimes they are. I know I have some difficult people in my life that I choose to keep around because they are more good than bad. I appreciate the people that kept me around when I was most difficult. The most important thing is to remember to keep telling yourself when dealing with difficult people when dating is really “it’s not me it’s you”. It’s not your fault, or your problem, that they are the way they are. You can’t change them, you just have to accept them the way they are. If you can’t, then move on, it’s not worth your time or energy.
Have you dealt with difficult people when dating before? What did you do? Did you even bother? Why or why not? Would love to hear your experiences in the comments!!
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
Copyright Single Dating Diva
Why anyone would think that someone who treats them like this is worth their time is beyond me! Who has time for another project? Of all the step, the forgiving can be the hardest for most, but agree that in order to learn from the experience and move-on it’s a must.
Thanks DIP!! You definitely have to assess if the bad outweighs the good and if it really is worth your time, you’re right often times it really isn’t!!
Currently dealing with this situation while I’m dating a hypochondriac. Seriously. Tried most of the above tips but finding its actually feeding the problem. No more sympathy from me buddy… and now I think its not worth my time. Talk about draining!
Thanks for sharing … that sounds like a very frustrating situation. Sounds like this person is bringing more grief than good to the party … maybe time to weigh the pros & cons of the relationship!
Thanks Suzie. I’m not really confrontational so remaining calm is fairly easy however I think it’s important to participate with a difficult person calmly and rationally.
This is where the active listening comes in – repeat what is being said in different words for clarity and ask questions if still not understanding…. which leads onto the understanding part of it 🙂
If all else fails, forgive and move on. Don’t linger there!!
Thanks Gari! Definitely not healthy to linger in a negative environment … if you try everything and it doesn’t work then it probably isn’t somewhere you want to be long term.
I think timing is of the essence. As you say everyone is difficult at times, and it may be this person is being difficult because they aren’t great at handling certain circumstances beyond their control in their life – -at this time. But if you’ve just started dating someone and they’re this way all the time, and it’s a personality trait… it’s time to cut and run. We’re too damn precious and deserve to be cherished… as DIP said – we do NOT need another project.
Thanks Lisa Jey! You definitely have to assess if this person is worth your time or not … often times they really aren’t.
I can be moody and difficult at times, but I’m human and we all have our moments. I guess it depends in the actions and words of the “difficult” person as well as the circumstances surrounding what made them difficult. Is it perception? Is it lack of communication? Is it a real issue? Is it an overreaction? Great post and great tips! 😉 XOXO
Thanks BSG! Lots of factors to consider when dealing with a difficult person, I know! Most important one though is “do I want to be part of it”.
I have to be honest. Over the last few weeks I have been the Wicked Bitch of the West. But I can appreciate when someone gives me the space to go through the motions. However, if I were like that all the time, I would understand why people would stay clear!!!! I understand a pass for every once in a while but not on the regular basis!
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