Yep. I’m going there. We all deal with people. People can be the rudest, most aggravating, frustrating, and condescending individuals around. The question is how do we not let these same people intimidate us when we are at our breaking point?
I’m going to tell you all a little story that’s true. In fact, it happened this week. We have a program at our job that supposedly allows the customers to be able to pay online. There was a problem with one of the customers, the corporate office was informed of this and they sent the managers on their way by shifting responsibility. The managers at the store contacted the program, followed the rules, let the customer know what they needed to do and thought the issue was resolved. Instead of working with the store, the customer came in the office, rudely spoke with the manager of the store and had her family pipe in. The customer’s brother decided to film this entire incident trying to intimidate the manager on duty. The manager never let on that she was jarred. She didn’t smile but she stayed nice. That in turn unnerved the family even more. They wanted her to lose her cool.
In this day of social media, this isn’t uncommon. There’s always someone trying to get someone else in trouble because they aren’t getting their way. In this situation, the manager is still trying to get a resolution to the issue but is hitting brick wall after brick wall. The point is that this manager isn’t giving up. Just because a situation may be difficult, does not mean that a situation is impossible.
So how do we work on ourselves to help figure out how to smooth over waters? Let’s look at a few pointers. The first one is to Be Aware. What do I mean by this? For starters, recognize that everyone is different. We all have different personalities. We all have good and bad days. The biggest thing is that we need to recognize this fact. If we are aware of our surroundings, then we can adjust accordingly.
The next thing is to recognize the style of the situation. I’m not talking fashion. I’m talking about how the attitudes are displayed. If someone is yelling at you, stay calm. Stay focused and recognize that you are not alone. Conflict is a normal part of life. The calmer you stay, the better you can keep the conversation as just that, a conversation and not a full argument. Escalations rarely do anyone any good. All it generally does is get each party more frustrated and doesn’t allow for good interactions with one another.
Third, Know Your Style. You know how you are. Take a really good look at yourself and find your own faults. If you are the type to get flustered easily, recognize this and deal with it. Sometimes confidence is the only thing that can keep you grounded. I don’t like to make customers angry because all it takes is one bad review to spread like wildfire but sometimes it really can’t be helped. Nevertheless, do everything in your power to know yourself and how to stay focused on keeping the peace.
Fourth, be willing to Learn Other Styles. I mentioned earlier that we are all different. I have to remind myself of these rules because when dealing with difficult people, we need to remember that we are all human. We all have bad days but we have to recognize people as being unique and special. Sometimes a little positivity to others can produce incredible results.
Don’t forget one of the biggest lessons of all. Be nice! You don’t have to be someone’s best friend but you don’t have to make them feel that you are trying to start a fight either. I think with the summer heat, we all have days where we get testy. That doesn’t mean that people need to feel less important. They may have their world falling apart and you may be the one thing that can make or break them. Your attitude can be crucial.
Exercise! I can’t stress this enough. When we don’t exercise, we tend to feel worse. Exercise keeps us not only in shape but allows us to get rid of frustration and anger that we have bottled up inside. It’s imperative that we make the time for ourselves because if we bottle up all emotions, we become a ticking internal time bomb and that’s never a good thing.
Talk to someone you trust. Sometimes this is even more important. It never hurts to get a second opinion from someone especially if you are unsure as to how you should proceed. I’m not saying that you can’t handle conflict. Most of the time people can. However, there will always be the exception. There will always be someone or something that gets to us when nothing else has bothered us. Just be willing to recognize that we are human and it’s okay to ask for help.
Hopefully, you can get through each week without conflict. If you can’t however, understand that you aren’t alone and that there are ways to deal with the conflict so that it doesn’t affect your health in the long run. After all, the best things in life are sometimes resolved from conflict that no one ever thought possible!