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Personal Development

Maintain Your Dignity while Dealing with Difficult People

Imagining if you could deal with difficult people – effectively, with dignity and grace and love in your heart. You can – if you use reason and science.

I like to joke that I'm a Humanist, which means, I like people in the abstract. Real people annoy me. Most people can relate to that as most of us - like people mostly, but don't like dealing with difficult people. 

Maintain Your Dignity while Dealing with Difficult People

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No One Likes Dealing with Difficult People. Not Even Difficult People.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I've trained a lot of people. Some people are ordered by courts to take my courses because, they were found guilty of harassing someone. I also get called in to do group trainings in offices where - they have a difficult person and are hoping my training will help them make their difficult person less difficult. 

Those people deemed "difficult" by others, love my training. Not just because I treat them with dignity, but because I teach them how to deal with difficult people while maintaining their own dignity. And that was their problem. They were dealing with the difficult people in their lives badly.

I don't assume that someone is difficult just because someone told me they were. What I've learned is that often the most difficult people are themselves being victimized by other difficult people. Think of this as a vicious cycle where indignity breeds more indignity. 

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The Fix is to Replace the Vicious Cycle with a Virtuous One

Teach people how to respond to indignity with dignity. And yes, this works. It not only works, it's pretty much the only thing that does. And yes, we have science to back that up.

The next time you encounter a difficult person, respond with dignity by treating them with dignity. Most of the time, this turns what was a fight, into an assist because that difficult person, was really a person who was struggling to have their dignity validated. 

Does This Always Work?

No. But ... in those cases, responding with dignity will help you - fix the problem in other ways by helping to make it clear - where the problem really lies.

For parents, you know when your kids are fighting, it is impossible to tell who started the fight and really - it doesn't matter who started the fight. When you respond with dignity, you are refusing to fight and that makes it easier for managers to see what is really going on.

Ok - so this was a quick - high level overview. I realize most of you probably have a bunch of questions about how to do this in reality and how this really works. I get that. 

If you want to learn more - I recommend my course How to Win Any Argument.

Jennifer Hancock
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Jennifer Hancock
Author, Educator, Humanist
Subjects of Expertise: Critical Thinking, Humanistic Leadership, Workplace Harassment
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Jennifer Hancock
Author
Educator
Humanist

Subjects of Expertise

Critical Thinking
Humanistic Leadership
Workplace Harassment

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