Anger sometimes is justified but not necessarily needed all the time. Difficult and rude individuals are everywhere in society and test the sane and good natured individuals. Patience can wear thin when dealing with a difficult person at the office, at home, or on the road. It is critical to keep your cool but as one knows, it does not always end that way. Sometimes, the person goes way past acceptable behavior or you are already over loaded with stress and this person is the proverbial “straw” that breaks the camel’s back. It is still nonetheless important to limit outbursts from becoming dangerous or illegal.
Of course, learning Anger Management techniques to deal with difficult people and maintain emotional control is key. There are a few key ideas to consider below that may help one deal better with difficult people and remain calm.
Of course the first and foremost point is it is not worth it. Getting emotionally upset is not healthy all the time. Controlling one’s temper and anger is key to a healthy life but also a legal trouble free life. Road rage, office fights, jail time and other misfortunes are merely the tip of the ice burg. So it is not worth it when a difficult person causes issues.
Anger Management also teaches one to try to understand their point of view. Attribution error looks at the issue at hand and tries to understand one’s annoying behavior. Sometimes, a person may be facing his or her own stress or dealing with multiple stressors or even a death in one’s family. It may be nice to sometimes give someone a little “slack”.
Sometimes difficult people also just wish to be heard. Individuals who are unable to vent, or able to be heard or validated are more angry. When dealing with an angry person in business or customer support, sometimes, merely listening can be key. It can also help to validate or acknowledge a difficult person’s frustration. This does not mean one must agree, but it does mean one can pick out something of importance to the person and acknowledge it. It can also be merely through a comment as “I can see how that would be frustrating to you”. This can help reset the angry or difficult person. Diffusing the argument through listening, acknowledgement and agreement on some points can help.
Another angle to review is the type of person you are dealing with. While one cannot always do a psychological analysis on a stranger or is qualified to do so, one can sometimes look for various traits. For difficult individuals that one knows, then this is far easier but knowing the type of person one is dealing with can really help. Is the person OCD, is the person ADHD, is the person a Type A personality or is the person Clinically Depressed? Some individuals may have defiant issues where they look to argue to merely argue. They thrive for the fight itself. Others may be selfish and will only see their own views and border narcissism or other personality disorders. Others may be sociopaths and not care about anyone but themselves. How one navigates the waters with difficult individuals can depend on the personality itself.
When dealing with these individuals, one should accept the reality of what one is dealing with. You cannot change a person’s personality but you can cope with it. You can with long term relationships with people or a simple conversation admit that this person is difficult and for whatever reason, apply a plan to deal with it without allowing yourself to become angry. In doing so, one should look for conclusions and solutions to help end the problem. Offer solutions and remain fact driven. Do not offer opinions but remain steadfast with facts. Delusional individuals may wish to irritate and offer bogus solutions or conspiracies, but one should avoid name calling or lowering oneself to their level. If one dismisses foolishness and remains entailed with only the facts, then one can possibly put the conversation on track. This is especially true with customer service or in business. Only offer what is possible and remain fact driven. Again, we can see this in debates, or congressional hearings. The party that remains calm and fact orientated despite the digs and ad hominem argumentation will eventually emerge unscathed.
Also during tense exchanges, it is good to not match intensity of emotion. Individuals who are screaming, only become louder when one screams back. It is best to remain calm and collective and choose words wisely and calmly. The lack of emotional energy from your side can help alleviate the stress and ease the mood.
Of course, there are two other options to consider that we have not even considered. First, is the problem you? Are you the difficult person? Second, if not, and the person continues to be emotional and illogical, simply walk away from the issue. This can be done politely and professionally and does not necessarily involve a climatic dig and storming off moment or a click of the phone. Everything can be done with proper procedure and good manners. There are plenty of ways to end conversations that are fruitless with class and dignity.
If you would like to learn more about dealing with emotion and anger, then please review AIHCP’s Anger Management Consulting Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as an Anger Management Consultant.
Also please review the article, “How to Deal With Difficult People Without Losing Your Cool” by Adam Bulger. Please click here