Posted on Apr 21st, 2006

Q. I work with several people in my office whom I would call difficult people. They are hard to please and get along with, and many of them are know-it alls. I don’t want to change jobs, but I also don’t want to lose my temper or, even worse, act like they do. Any suggestions you would have to offer would be helpful.

A. Doesn’t it seem like, more and more, they are all around us? All those bozos - what the reader is calling difficult people - who seem to cross our paths every day.

Whether we associate with them, work with them, or, even worse, live with them, they can drain the life right out of your day if you let them.

In part one we’ll look at my three general rules on dealing with the bozos, and in part two we’ll look at specific types and how to handle them.

3 general rules

General Rule 1 - You cannot, will not and should not even try to change them. The only winning move, if you can’t avoid them altogether, is to. change your responses to them. Remember the three things we are always responsible for: our attitudes, our choices and our actions.

General Rule 2 - In order to successfully deal with difficult people, you have to play the "I can expect that" game. To play this game, you have to expect difficult people to act exactly like difficult people. The trap we fall into is that we expect everyone to play by the same nice rules and then are shocked, surprised and hurt when the bozos show up and act the way they do.

Playing the "I can expect that" game with difficult people allows us to do at least three things:

1. We can anticipate and plan for their behavior.

2. We are not surprised by their behavior.

3. We can respond to their behavior, instead of reacting.

General Rule 3 - You and I might be someone else’s bozo. Now that’s a different take on it, isn’t it? Stop and consider your own behavior, to make sure you’re not being the bozo in someone else’s life.

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