Life will always present us with awkward, difficult people; and unless you want to live in a Himalayan cave you will have to learn how to deal with these people. We should not let difficult people spoil our inner equanimity; with the right attitude we can maintain our peace of mind even when dealing with unpleasant people. These are some suggestions for dealing with awkward people.
1. Don’t Think about Them All the Time
Sometimes when people cause us difficulties they start to dominate our thoughts; this makes their presence seem very close. However, it is best to think about them as little as possible. Instead, concentrate on things and people who inspire you. Thinking about difficult people is not going to change how they behave, but it will cause us unhappiness.
2. Don’t Expect to Change Them.
Awkward and unpleasant people are the least likely to be willing to change themselves. Don’t take it upon yourself to try and change their behaviour; you will all most certainly fail. Furthermore, they will probably resent your interference and this will create further difficulties. Instead we can maintain a cheerful detachment. If we don’t have any expectations, it becomes much easier to deal with.
3. Don’t feel guilt
If people create problems in our life we can start to feel guilty, even though we have done nothing wrong. In cases like this
we have to be detached; it is not our fault problems are created. As long as we seek to maintain a good attitude, that is all that matters.
If you want to transform your life
Then immediately give up
Your false sense of teeming guilt.
4. Silence is a powerful weapon.
When people say unreasonable things, the natural instinct is to try and argue with them. However, this draws us into their weird perspective. In many circumstances, it may be appropriate to maintain silence and not respond to what they say and do. By being silent, we are effectively ignoring them without having to criticise their actions. In silence their is great power; when we ignore them, they lose influence. Silence also gives us time to think a more measured and detached response, for later.
5. Retain your Humour.
Don’t feel obliged to take every situation seriously. Try to see the funny side. If people behave in a ridiculous way, don’t despair – just see the absurd behaviour as a humorous situation. The comical aspect of the TV programme, The Office came simply from ordinary people behaving in unreasonable ways.
6. Don’t seek to Avoid them
If you have to work with a difficult people, the solution is rarely to move job. The likelihood is that you will find difficult people wherever you work. If you try to avoid difficult people, you will be permanently on the move. The thing to do is to change your attitude; rather than feeling depressed and guilty, we can see it is an opportunity for our self improvement. Through learning to deal with difficulty people, we will learn many valuable life skills.
6. Offer Goodwill.
If we can offer goodwill even to difficult people, we will make tremendous progress. Unpleasant people may deserve criticism, but, this will not help the situation. Even the most difficult person may have one or two good qualities. Try to mentions these; subconsciously they will appreciate our goodwill. This remains the most effective way to bring out the best in others – even if it may seem to take a very long time.
7. Don’t Try to Impress or Gain favour
Sometimes, whatever we do, people will look at the negative side and criticise us. This can cause us to seek even harder to seek their approval. But, this can cause us to ignore our basic values, and sometimes even if we change, we still don’t gain their approval anyway. There is much more dignity in being true to ourselves, and being happy with our choices. If some difficult people don’t appreciate our actions, no harm. We can never expect to receive everyone’s approval.
Photo by: Ranjit Swanson, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries
 Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 40, Agni Press, 1982.