but the LORD delivers him from them all;
“My job is great,” said Priya, “It’s just the people I work with; they drive me crazy!” No matter where you work or with whom you live, there will always be people with different points of view or annoying habits.
Difficult people can be in our workplace, or, sadly, in our own home.
Maybe you have a relative who’s an arrogant know-it-all. Perhaps your boyfriend complains constantly.
Could it be that you live with hurtful words and put downs from someone who says they love you?
I’m sure you have your own list of things that bother you as you deal with the stress of people who ignore, interrupt or insult you.
But here’s the thing: No matter how people treat you, you can choose how you will respond. You can respond defensively and angrily, or kindly with respect and tact. You can change the subject. You can walk away. You can choose not to argue and take the high road.
You have choices.
Of course, it’s natural to be offended when someone hurts your feelings, but it’s what you do with that offense—whether you hold it inside and let it fester, or release it—that makes all the difference.
How can we you deal with difficult people in your life? Here are five great ways to get started:
1. Keep perspective. Hurting people hurt other people. They may have issues in their lives that make them act the way the do. Knowing that may help you to better deal with the situation. Often the problem is not about you, it’s about them.
2. Communicate with tact. Don’t blame or accuse. Instead say, “When you [describe their action], I feel [describe how you feel]. For example, “When you interrupt me, I feel like you don’t care about what I have to say.” Of course, there are times when, despite your best efforts you may need to leave the room and handle the situation another time so anger can diffuse.
3. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” Maybe you are learning deeper depths of patience through a challenging relationship or greater dependence on God to help you through tough times.
4. Most importantly, pray. Pray for the person who is annoying you and for grace and strength in your response. Ask God how to best handle your challenging situation. God may take you out of it, or He may sustain you while He creates an exit. Or, knowing the creative God we serve, He may just do something else.
5. Finally, expect things to change. While you cannot change another person, you can alter your own behavior and make different choices with your words and actions.
Coping with difficult people is part of life. It isn’t always easy, but thankfully God is bigger than any challenge—even that person in your office or your living room. Pray about your situation, have hope, and watch what happens.
God is at work. Be at peace.