Dealing with difficult people

How to face our toughest relationships

We all have that person (or perhaps several people!) in our lives who is challenging to work or engage with. Every conversation is a struggle.

If they would just listen!
Why are they always opposed to my ideas?
They’re such a difficult person!

We can’t control someone else’s reactions and we can’t directly change their perspective or beliefs. (Remember, empathy is about connecting with, not changing, the other person.)

But what if we changed our perspective?

What if this isn’t a difficult person — what if they’re just having a difficult time?

We all have fears. And we all have needs. How might we engage differently knowing they’re afraid? What might their needs be (in this situation, in this relationship)?

It’s not necessarily our job to meet their needs or allay their fears, but recognizing both increases our empathy and empowers us to have a compassionate conversation.

What if this isn’t a difficult person — they’re just having a difficult time?
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