Stress Management: Dealing with Difficult People
“Dealing with difficult people” is one of the most queried topics in workplace wellness. There are 92 titles on Amazon.com that contain this phrase. Virtually all guidance focuses on changing yourself, not on changing others. Coping falls into three broad personal intervention categories: actions to take, attitude adjustments to make, and interactions that you can make with those who rub you the wrong way. These three prongs of coping include options ranging from accepting the quirkiness of a certain personality style to seeking psychotherapy to better understand your reaction to the behavior of another—behavior that to trusted peers may seem perfectly benign. To find the best intervention for any difficult behavior, first isolate the specific thing that prompts your unpleasant response—isolate the annoyance. Make this, not the personality, the target of coping. You will get a more efficient result that is faster, permanent, and less emotionally stressful.
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