Everyday, all around the world difficult people find their way into conversations, debates, and events. When out and about, it’s highly likely you’ll encounter one of these irritating, demanding humans. It’s not pleasant.
But here’s the thing – every single one of us has been guilty of this difficult behavior at some point in our lives. Does that behavior make us terrible people? No. Of course not.
Deep down, we all have goodness within our souls. Even the most grumpy, rude person has some good inside. Be patient, and take the time to try this stuff out – and you just might view the difficult person in a new, positive light.
1 – Consider the possibility that he/she could just be having a rough day.
Think back to your worst day ever – maybe it involved car problems, an intense breakup, or a series of small misfortunes that added up throughout the day and lead to insanity. Whatever happened on your worst day – I’m betting you were not the most pleasant person to deal with in those unfortunate 24 hours.
How would you feel if the version of yourself on your worst day ever was the lasting image other people had of you? No go backs, no quick changing of opinions – just stressed out, difficult you as the only you people around you remember.
It’s not fair, is it? If we don’t want to be judged on our worst days, we shouldn’t judge others on their worst days, either. Give difficult people the benefit of the doubt. Life can be challenging, so maybe the difficult behavior is rooted in a difficult situation.
Next time someone gives you trouble, jump to the conclusion that he/she is just having a rough day.
2 – Picture all the things he/she could be facing – sickness, financial issues, relationship problems, etc.
This ties in with the first point and takes it to the next level of consideration. Sometimes it helps to make up a bizarre story to explain the irritating behavior of others.
We never know what someone is going through, and in most cases at work or out in public, we’re not going to find out. And that’s totally okay. But it’s important not to just assume that the person has a terrible personality. Think about what could have happened earlier in that person’s day – he could have wrecked his car and had to walk to a gas station three miles away, along the way losing his wallet and getting bitten by a rattlesnake.
We may never know the issues that others face, but if we consider that they may be having hard times in their personal lives, we can skip the unfair assumptions.
Negative behavior usually is the result of unfortunate experiences. Take this into account when judging human behavior.
3 – Imagine him/her as a little toddler.
At some point in life, we were all innocent, little kids. Even the most obnoxious human was once an adorable child. Picture the difficult person in front of you as toddler, just learning to dance – smiling, laughing…innocent.
Somewhere inside of each of us, that little innocent human still remains. Even if it’s buried deep, keep picturing the young versions of the people around you. It will open your eyes to the goodness deep down.
4 – Remember every moment of goodness you’ve seen from him/her.
There’s bound to be a time – no matter how irritable he/she generally makes you – when this difficult person has shown a glimpse of his/her good side. Maybe it was a faint smile, a kind word, or a moment of vulnerability. As tiny and simple as this moment may have seemed – never forget it. Hold it close and play it over and over again whenever this person returns to the rougher side of himself/herself.
5 – Notice what topics make him/her light up.
Grandkids, pets, hobbies, siblings – these are all potential topics that can turn someone’s mood from distant to personable. It will defiantly take some digging and hard conversation work, but most people have soft spots that seem to bring out their good sides.
Take note of these soft spots and expand on them each time you talk to these people. It takes time, but if you continue to touch on these positive topics, each encounter with the difficult person will grow less and less dreadful.
6 – Note his/her insecurities.
There is nothing that makes someone as unpleasant as when he/she is drowning in those pesky insecurities. We all have them and they’re all unique to each person.
Some people grow completely detached and others take frustrations out on the world. Whatever the method of defense is, always take a minute to acknowledge it to yourself (both for your own issues and others you must face).
Insecurities are unfortunate, yet they can bring us together. Most of us can relate to body image insecurities, financial insecurities, and career insecurities. Let’s change our responses from defensive to connective.
Next time you face someone obviously upset over a personal insecurity, take a minute to relate and say, “Hey, I understand. I feel that way, too.” And watch the defensive monster turn into a normal human being.
Learning to see the good in others can change your outlook on the world. As with most things, it takes time and effort. You must try. And it’s worth it. Not only will you learn the stories of others around you, you will start to see the good in your own self.
Thank you so much for reading this post. Please comment below if you’ve ever had an enlightening experience with a person you thought was terrible – and he/she turned out to be not-so-bad.
Have a great day, and look for the good in others.