How to Deal With Impossible People
Knowing and being practiced in how to deal with impossible people can save you much unpleasantness. In general, it’s best to never rise to the occasion, however there are a number of cheeky tips that you can try in order to avoid an argument and to appease the impossible person, without feeling that you’re losing out.
1- Avoid the interaction. The best way to get out of a difficult social encounter is to avoid it entirely, however this may not always be possible.
2- Do not take the bait! They may not be deliberately trying to bait you into an argument, but avoid rising to the occasion as, if it’s something that they’re used to doing, they’ll be much more comfortable and happy with a negative interaction than you will be.
3- Learn how to use Neuro-Linguistic-Programming (NLP). ‘Getting on a level’ with this person will mean that they will always agree with you. This is especially important should you have to work or manage this person on a day to day basis.
4- Escape at the first possible opportunity. Do not be selfish here however, as it’s not cool to abandon your friend with the difficult person. If there’s no fair escape, you need to accept that you’re stuck with them, and start taking measures to preserve your sanity.
5- Do not outright address the situation. This will most likely only make you look like the unreasonable party, and will result in that person being even more difficult to deal with.
6- Remember your past encounters with them. Was there a point of argument which they particularly enjoyed engaging in? Do they hold any wild views that they’re used to meeting opposition about? Avoid these subject matters at all cost, but if they are visited, change the subject as soon as possible.
7- Impossible people need to be treated like spoilt children. Recognise this and act accordingly, although do not be condescending or patronising as this will make you seem like the guilty party. Difficult people ‘can do no wrong’ and so are good at shifting the blame. Don’t give them the opportunity to!
8- If you somehow get wrapped into a conflict with this person, you must first concentrate on not becoming emotionally involved in the ‘debate’. Remove or distance yourself from the argument by either physically leaving, in as less a dramatic way as possible, or mentally changing the subject.
9- If you have to continue discussing with this person, instead of conveying your argument, instead, have them further explain theirs; difficult people are used to being destructive and so will be well prepared to chop down your opinion, instead, have them have to be constructive with their own argument. Laddering and probing into the why or the emotional reasoning behind their argument will have them have to readdress their own line of thinking. Do not simply keep asking ‘why?’, as this can be irritating, instead, ask around the issue with genuine curiosity. Hopefully you will have them re-think their irrational argument, but at the very least, you will make their argument appear irrational to onlookers should they not be able to give you answers.
Understand that we are all different. This person may not seem impossible to other people, so avoid ‘bitching’ about them. Simply understand that you don’t get on and make arrangements to deal with it.
Find a theme that you both agree on and refer back to this whenever things are getting difficult. Finding common ground will strengthen the relationship and will naturally make the person less impossible to deal with.
We all exhibit personality disorders in some form or another, but as long as we’re aware of them they can be managed. Occasionally distance yourself from office politics in order to gain a wider perspective on what’s going on.