How to Handle Difficult People: The Psychology of Thinking

Two Kinds of Thinking

Internal Focus Thinking

This is where you are more focused on what you feel inside but have the tendency to ignore what’s going on outside yourself.

External Focus Thinking

This is when you are more focused on what’s going on around you than what you are feeling inside.

Though both have an objective to protect yourself, being focused on one side will harm your whole well-being. Being focused internally leads in controlling and dealing with internal issues. Yet doing so often, one may become self-absorbed, selfish, loner, or alike. While being externally focused leads to handling outside issues or other people, doing more of this may lead to be too controlling, avoiding responsibilities, dependent to others, or luring others to do things for you. And this sounds not good.

Everyone has their own perception of the world and may conflict to each other when met at a certain situation. Your value system may or may not be the same of what others have, because you have your own life experiences. When you meet someone with a different belief, you may tend to protect yourself and defend what you believe in. Result could be you’ll become enemies. Yet, since you have a high emotional intelligence, you will understand what she/he stands for and you can discuss something in a good way. The one key to handle difficult people is to understand them.

Personal Perceptions Conflict

Everyone has their own perception of the world and may conflict to each other when met at a certain situation. Your value system may or may not be the same of what others have, because you have your own life experiences. When you meet someone with a different belief, you may tend to protect yourself and defend what you believe in. Result could be you’ll become enemies. Yet, since you have a high emotional intelligence, you will understand what she/he stands for and you can discuss something in a good way. The one key to handle difficult people is to understand them.

The Skill

The ability to switch comfortably from these two thinking perspective is a great way to deal with difficult people. You have the capability to use it depends on the attack of the other person. Using both to a particular situation is genius! Level up your understanding on the things that needs balancing.

How can you win an argument then without hurting the other person?

Keep your emotions under control

Let your own emotions shut up for a while. It’s not always about protecting yourself. Sometimes you need to stop complaining and understand the other person’s feelings.

See the other person’s perspective

If you are on the same situation as her, what are you going to say? Having a different opinion on things was sometimes caused by different life experiences. Everyone might have similarities life moments, but there is always a difference between it that you only understood. Get that part and be on her shoes and agree with her. Only after then you will say your side.

Always respect other people’s opinions

Respect begets respect. End the argument diplomatically and try not to burn bridges. Telling feedback that you liked having a healthy argument, or thank that person as you have learned something new, is a nice way to end it. Be friendly as much as possible.

Misunderstandings may lead to a destroyed respect and trust, damaged relationships, or reduced productivity, enthusiasm, or  focus. Practice healthy thinking so you can approach difficult people and avoid conflict as much as possible. If conflict is present, understanding and respecting the other person’s point of view can help to lessen the tension. Treating them fairly, supporting and challenging them could help too.

Reference:
  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201408/6-ways-win-any-argument
  • https://www.inc.com/stephanie-frank/there-is-1-word-that-always-wins-an-argument-and-it-goes-against-everything-you-.html
  • Dealing with Difficult People, Ken Pierce (2013)