Hey, I don’t want to attack anyone here, but you know some people are just kinda annoying. Especially when you need them to get from point a to point b.
Relationships are a challenge, but indispensable for a sane existence. We’re social animals, and therefore, with all the complications they imply, we hate them, we love them, but mostly, we need them.
Yes, I know you’ve heard some experts say we must avoid certain types of people and their attitudes but, truth is, many times we’re stuck with one another. Peers, bosses, siblings, teachers, classmates, the cashier at the grocery store, the wanna-be musician neighbor, you can’t always choose whom to interact with. What you get to choose is the how.
In this article I tried my best to sum up the types of stallers you’ll be most likely to bump into, the way they can affect your productivity, and simple ways to cope with their attitudes. Always keep in mind though, that generalizations are just ways to organize things so we can understand them better, but every situation has its particularities.
These people are desperate for attention, so they will do all they can to get yours. They’re insecure, so they want your ok on everything they do. They'll ask you a thousand questions, show them what they’ve done, and then ask your opinion on it for the tenth time. They can also play the victim, hoping you will show up for the rescue. A needy person is almost like a preschooler, and all they think about is me, me, me.
This kind of people will distract you. They’ll try to get you to solve their issues or tell them what to do, and even then, they’ll come back for some more attention. They steal your energy and focus. Beware about your reactions around them, because they can make you feel sturdy and strong, needed.
The drama queens.
Drama queens (and kings) drown in a glass of water. They can take any minor situation out of proportion. Everything is “disaster,” “urgent,” “fatal.” They love drama, but it’s not exactly their fault. Excess worrying is a bad habit, perpetuated by an addiction to stress hormones. I’m not kidding. Whenever you’re stressed, your brain produces substances your body gets used to, up to the point it feels them as “normal” and craves them.
The problem with drama queens is they suck you into their tragedy. You become unproductive when you start spending your time trapped in thoughts and emotions they triggered, either because you worry about them, or because you’re the subject of their drama.
No, no, can’t be done. Nop. Negativity is the never-ending song of the naysayers, and it can get exhausting. To every idea you give them, they’ll find all the cons and none of the pros. It’s natural that our brains try to find the threats in everything we do, it’s a defense mechanism. The problem is when that stops us from taking action and finding alternative solutions.
Naysayers can stall you if you keep waiting for their permission or approval to act, or if you let in their fear. They will warn you of all the dangers of your actions, expecting the worst outcome possible. They can demotivate you, for they’re great at pointing at all the obstacles in the way, and find them as insurmountable. Almost everything we do will have a downside, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying.
How to deal with these difficult people and relationships?
If you wish for quick tips and fixes, you’ll be disappointed. Developing a mindset of tolerance, understanding, and self-love is the key to dealing with difficult people. In fact, it’s the key to dealing with any type of relationship.
The first and maybe most important principle is understanding you’re responsible for one single person. You. If you, like myself, have little ones to take care of, then your responsibility for others goes a little bit further, but in the end, your job is to teach your kids to become self-responsible.
We have no control over what others do or say, but we do have the power to decide who we let in or how she affects us.
Forget about right or wrong.
Never judge the person, just the action. Great people have bad days. There are reasons for their behavior that you are not aware of, or won’t be able to understand. Accept with what is, analyze your options (you do have them) and make choices.
Only help those who want to be helped.
You are not responsible for other people’s lives, but you don’t have to be indifferent to their suffering. Nevertheless, some will want and welcome help; others won’t. Some just want to be heard so that they can come to their own conclusions. Other just need to make mistakes. Don’t meddle.
Don’t empower discouraging thoughts and actions.
Take them for what they are, the mirage of someone else’s fears. Distinguish good, common sense advice form negativity and pessimism. It’s hard for some people to see you grow, as they become aware of their own stagnation. Don’t follow thoughts that bring you into a state of paralyzing fear and worry.
Don’t feel guilty for letting others assume their struggles.
Be assertive, if you need to.
Nothing clears they way better than an open, honest conversation. Listen, ask questions, make your point. Clearing things up it’s better than letting resentment settle and grow. Align expectations so that you can move faster towards common goals.
If you depend on the actions of others to move forward with your projects, then ask for concrete tasks for a specific time, explaining the reasons for your need. Don’t ask people to “be different” or to “change,” that’s too obtuse and makes things too personal. What exactly do you want or need from them?
Love, accept, be patient, but also, walk away if necessary. Sometimes people are going in a different direction than you are. Not better or worse, just different. And letting go is the best thing to do for all involved.
Now, here’s a challenging question: which type of staller are you?
Because we’ve all played one or all of these rolls at least once. Be careful, are the one blocking someone else’s road?
Now tell me. What has been your most difficult relationship lately and how did you solve it? Let me know in the comments.