Choose a part from the list below: 
The first key to handling difficult people (part 1 is here) is to understand what is difficult about them. Yes, I know, they are difficult and they drive you crazy, but how are they difficult?
Does this person know-it-all? Does this person fly off the handle for no apparent reason, acting irrationally at the slightest provocation? Completely egotistic? Does this person take credit for your work and your ideas? Does the word prickly aptly describe him? Does she wear her feelings on her sleeve, and you can’t say anything without instigating some drama?
The reason you need to know how this person, or persons, drive you crazy is so you can identify the triggers that set her off on the tirade. You cannot avoid producing the triggers, but you can soften the blow by deflating the trigger. Every person wants to be heard. One of the best ways to deflate a tirade is to acknowledge that you are hearing him or her. Acknowledge you understand the person is upset.
I was furious one day when I found out that the state I had just moved from was holding up my procuring a driver’s license in the state I now resided. My first frustration was being bounced around from person to person, telling my story so many times with no one acknowledging my problem. I was just passed along to another person. My rage was almost to the fire and brimstone level; I nearly lost any resemblance to being a lady. When this one man answered the phone, and all he said was, “Yes, ma’am, I hear you. I understand your frustration.” My rage completely dissipated. I was so surprised that his simple response deflated me into a reasonable person.
This man did not take my rage personally. He was wise not to accept responsibility for causing the anger. All Christians would do well to remember what David told Goliath, “Then everyone gathered here will know that the LORD can save without sword or spear, because the LORD determines every battle's outcome. He will hand all of you over to us.” (1 Samuel 17:47)
David assessed the facts of the situation.
- Goliath was a well-seasoned warrior, used to using sword, shield, and spear for fighting.
- David had killed bear and lion with his bare hands to protect his father’s sheep.
- David understood the power of God, and measured the problem according to the size of God, not the size of the giant.
- David had not been trained in warfare, but used the weapons he knew intimately.
David assessed the story he was telling himself about the facts of the situation.
- David let Goliath’s insults pass over rather than accepting them or even trying to defend himself against them.
- David rightfully recognized he fought in the name of the LORD. He was not fighting for Israel first, but he was fighting to bring God glory.
- Even though David had killed lions and bears with his hands, he understood that it was God who delivered them into his hands, and saved him from them. He had not prevailed in his own strength.
Asking questions rather than making statements is a wise course of action.
David asked, “What will be done for the man who kills the Philistine and gets rid of Israel’s disgrace?” Compare Gaal’s response to a similar threat from Abimelech. In Judges 9:29, Gaal says “How I wish I controlled these people! Then I’d get rid of Abimelech, and tell him to get a big army and come out.” The difference is the outcome. Gaal ran off leaving behind many dead in the city gates. David, however, took Goliath’s head to Jerusalem and the army of Israel chased the Philistines, and left wounded and dead Philistines along the roadside to the gates of their own cities.
Use “I” rather than “You” when dealing with a difficult person because it does not sound accusatory. Saying “That is not what I said” instead of “You did not hear me” gives you the responsibility in a less confronting way. “You did not hear me” implies the difficult person is either deaf or stupid, and that tactic will not win you friends or help you to influence people.
Assertive not obnoxious.
When Saul heard David had said he would fight the Philistine, he said, “What? You are just a boy. You can’t fight this Philistine!” David told him about his sheep tending skills. Who would have thought tending sheep was so dangerous, and the power God used to help David in his job? David just pointed out that he had killed lions and bears, and gave God the glory for it.
How often do we mistakenly think that we have managed a spectacular feat in our own strength?
Trusting God to preserve and protect us in our daily living is paramount to dealing with difficult people in work, play, and in chance meetings like my frustration of bureaucracy. When we seek His face, get to know Him intimately, hide His word in our heart, God will put the proper words in our mouths at the exact time they need to be said. I have experienced it in real life situations.
God removed me from a situation, and I thought it was a bad thing. However, the particular difficult person I had to deal with for more than a year put herself and several working for her in danger of going to jail for misappropriation of funds and malfeasance. Her name and the others’ names were mentioned on a TV news report, but God kept my name and reputation pure by removing me from the situation. Sometimes, it isn’t what we say but what we do or how we react that makes a witness for Christ a great. The greatest compliment I have ever received came from that situation when someone told me that knew I was a true Christian because of how I handled the situation. She told me she wanted what I had. No greater glory can a Christian bask in than the glory we bring to God.
How have you dealt with a difficult person? Any advice?
'Refreshment in Refuge' Copyright 2013 © Gina Burgess. 'Refreshment in Refuge' articles may be reproduced in whole under the following provisions: 1) A proper credit must be given to the author at the end of each story, along with their complete bio and a link to http://www.liveasif.org/ 2) 'Refreshment in Refuge' content may not be arranged or "mirrored" as a competitive online service.
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