We all have to deal with difficult people we can’t avoid. Seeing things from their perspective helps create empathy and understand their perspective. Use the phrase “It must not be easy” to help you see the other side before you react.
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Psychology Today offers tips on how you can be empathetic. Instead of focusing on yourself and your reaction, first try to focus on the other person:
One effective way to de-personalise is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, even for just a moment. For example, consider the offender you’re dealing with, and complete the sentence: “It must not be easy…”
“My friend is so aggressive. It must not be easy to come from an environment where everyone was forced to compete…”
“My manager is really overbearing. It must not be easy to have such high expectations placed on her performance by senior executives…”
“My partner is so controlling. It must not be easy to have grown up in a family where he was told how to think and act in every way…”
The goal here is to realise it isn’t all about you, and that the other person has struggles too. You aren’t giving them permission or condoning how they’re acting. You’re just trying to understand them a bit more.
Check out the link for other tips for what to do with challenging personalities.
How to Successfully Handle Aggressive and Controlling People [Psychology Today]