At AlleyNYC I manage a community with hundreds of people. In the past, I have hired and fired hundreds more. I have kicked ass and kissed ass. One thing I have learned over the years is how to deal with difficult people.
Here are five really quick tips on dealing with difficult people:
1. Perspective: The most difficult people teach us the biggest lessons. Think about playing a videogame with the setting on easy. You beat the game every time and you are never really challenged. Now think about playing with the hard setting. It’s a pain in the ass but, before you know it, your skills improve and you become a Ninja Master, Level: Expert. People are no different. Easy people to deal with keep you in your comfort zone. Difficult people shake things up a bit and you have to grow as a person in order to advance past it. Having this perspective will keep you from getting overly mad. If you really become a Jedi Master you will actually appreciate the challenge. The force is strong with this one.
2. Look inside yourself: There is a reason why this person gets to you. There is a reason why this particular person pushes every button and hits every nerve in your body. This is psychological. After it is all said and done, who is getting upset? Who is getting mad as hell and letting this person affect our thoughts and ability to get awesome things done? The answer is YOU. Learning to look inside yourself and at how this person is making you feel can make the emotions elementary. Why beat yourself up?
3. Get over it: This is one of my favorite truisms: Life is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to get over your feelings. You are trying to take over the world and that’s a HUGE job. This person is just another pawn in the game. If you get stuck on it, it’s going to throw you off your game. Be as polite as possible. Take an acting class and put on your best game face.
4. Delete the person from your life: Listen, if everything else fails and this person is a constant pain in the ass, the only common-sense move is to get rid of them. I do not care if they are your “best friend” or your cousin. If it’s that much of an issue, you need to move on and move out. One small change like this and everything else in your life may get better.
5. Accept it: If number 4 is in effect, then you need to accept it. The quicker you accept the loss, the quicker you can move on. Crappy people are like a cancer. Cut it off before it becomes malignant. I know you want to try your hardest to change this person and you may have known them for years and years. News flash: people do NOT change. If a person sucks, then they suck and if you think you can get them not to suck, you are a sucker.
PARENTING TIP FROM A NON-PARENT: Make your kids wait tables. Being a waiter at a young age accelerated the learning process on this subject. I waited tables at the local Olive Garden (shout out to all my old OG crew), and it was the most humbling experience and taught me to deal with every type of person. You want to learn how to deal with difficult people, try “Never-Ending Pasta Bowl” days. Look at me now. :) Until next time, hustle ON.