Navigating with Difficult People

Navigating with Difficult People

Do I  Stay or do I  Go now…

In Relocation we work with people who jive with us and many who do not.  And yet others who do not “get” what we want …at all.  Whether relocation partners, like real estate agents or HR managers, new co-workers or neighbors we meet a number of people who we need for this thing and that as we relocate and begin to set up life.

Along the way we are going to find those that we choose to keep but at the same time create havoc if not a huge slice of frustration along the way.

Should I stay or should I go now?

If I go there will be trouble

And if I stay it will be double
~The Clash – Do I Stay or Do I Go Now…Lyrics

When we work with some people, difficult people these lyrics provide regular theme music to the interaction.

The Trouble they Create

In talking with other people, I am sure you will find no limit to the discussion about difficult people and the trouble they create.  There is that sibling who always brings a strange partner to family events.  There is the boss who micromanages every aspect of a project.  There is the PTA mom who is always in someone else’s business and tell everyone on that family should manage their child.

The trouble difficult people create is both personal and public and that is why I think we struggle with them so.

All we want is for them to stop.   And in this our only choice is to avoid them or put up with them.

Our Limited options

Dealing with a difficult person is not something we are trained to deal with.  As kids we have been encouraged to be peacemakers and turn the other cheek.

As adults, when we think about doing these, many of us end up powerless…at the effect of them.  When we are experiencing the pain that comes with a difficult person, many of us choose to back away to avoid more interaction or confrontation.

The challenge is, that they or another version of them, will pop up again.  If we don’t know any better, we still only have 2 options.  Stay or Go.

But what if there was another option?

Seeing a Difficult Person

We spend a great deal of energy building walls to protect ourselves and strategizing what we will say or do “the NEXT TIME”.

What if there was another option where they were not so difficult?  One in which you could be in the same room without shrinking or attacking.  One in which their behavior, their words, their work was no longer a problem.

When we are faced with a difficult person.  The main problem is that we see them as a difficult person.  Their tone, their work ethic, their decisions, their attitude is all wrong.  Seeing a person as a difficult person immediately puts us at a disadvantage.  We see them as an adversary that must be managed, overcome or avoided. We spend a great deal of energy building walls to protect ourselves and strategizing what we will say or do “the NEXT TIME”.

When we view them in this way, we create a playbook.  We spend our time and energy.  When we enter a room with them, we focus on them to keep them at bay and we focus on ourselves for protection.

Then, we miss out on so much that is important to us.  Seeing our child kick a goal in soccer.  Being present and attentive at mom’s birthday party.  Getting all the details down for an important project at a staff meeting.

Seeing a difficult person distracts us, even from that which is important.

Rethinking “Difficult”

What if we just observed these people without judgement?  What if we allowed them to be them?

Try on this mind twister….

What if…these people (their actions, tone, work) were neutral?
Observed, perhaps interacted with, without judging good or bad?

I can hear it now, “That wouldn’t be right!”  But what if it was?  What if this was the path to doing your own great work.

So let’s check the upside.  What would happen if you did not judge them?

  • Less conversations about them
  • See them for who they are(capabilities/limitations/values/etc.)
  • Easier to be present without distraction
  • Time, energy and emotions spent on positive emotion creating pursuits
  • Less wall building
  • More time being YOU

Being ME is the greatest benefit to me that I have found through doing this work.  When I have been around difficult people in the past I am not me…at least not the best version of me.  So much of my life and even daily decisions are contorted or shifted in order to:

  • Avoid that person
  • Stay off their radar
  • Please them
  • Pacify them
  • Protect myself

In this space, I am not creative.  I am not engaging and I am certainly not present.  Preparing to be attacked or accosted takes time and energy away from the way I actually want to live. 

Co-existing vs. Breaking Ties

It is crazy how much our “difficult person”

changes who we are and what we do.

Through coaching, I have discovered how to co-exist easily rather than choosing to break ties. The secret allows me to choose life is on my terms.  I live my life based on my values and dream.  I no longer choose what I do to avoid, circumvent, or manage them or their chaos.

It is crazy how much our “difficult person” changes who we are and what we do.  On the other side without the distraction of fighting or resisting them, I have woken up to seeing the decisions I made to mitigate my pain. And in seeing them realized, I did not like them.

Through coaching with my coach, I know I could have done this so much better had I knows I had options.  Living in anger, grief and frustration made for strange decisions.  At the time, I did not know I had choice to see each situation differently.  Now I do.

Reframe the difficulty and Exercise your Power

When we believe we have options, we can show up and be good at our jobs or enjoy the bunko and wine party.  We are not distracted by them or their chaos.

One of the things I talk about this week in the podcast is that when we view these people as difficult, we kneel and give over our power to others.  Through it we bend to their demands or we change our lives to keep from experiencing their difficult-ness. 

The personal choice to seem them as difficult leads us to make decisions and show up in ways we would never have done without them there.  When we believe we have options, beyond just staying and cowering or going and missing out,  we stop using our energy and time to plan for the next attack.

When we believe we have options, we can show up and be good at our jobs or enjoy the bunko and wine party.  We are not distracted by them or their chaos.

It is a hard process to start, especially since most of us have a certain way to deal with people like this. Rules connected to who we are and what we value.  It’s OK to question this…and perhaps consider this could work.

That is the first step to SEEING Your Options with difficult people, and the first step to eliminating them.


If it is time to figure out how to manage your “difficult person” set up a Coaching Consult today.  Click the “Let’s Chat” button in the upper right hand corner of the webpage.  Choose a day and time that works for you. 

You don’t have to manage that difficult person anymore.  AND the bonus is, it is possible for them to stay in your life without changing, and without being difficult to you.

Want to relocate well?
I can help.

Download  “a Sense of Home” guide

The journey is easy.  Begin here.

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