7 Types of People Who Make Our Life Harder and What to Do About It

difficult peopleI don’t like to judge or talk poorly about people and I sincerely believe that EVERY single person possesses at least 3 wonderful qualities.

In fact, it is a game I sometimes play when I get really frustrated with someone. While I am huffing and puffing, I try to find 3 positive qualities about the person, who has pushed my buttons.

Not always an easy task, but 3 good qualities is a realistic number.

So where were we… Oh, yes – people that make our life harder. Not because they are bad people, but because they do certain things that may demotivate us, hurt our feelings or rub our ego the wrong way. Ultimately, it is not their problem but ours.

So here is what we can do to avoid unnecessary conflicts, stress and hard feelings.

1. Teachers that suggest that we might not be talented enough to do something

Years ago psychologists did a classroom experiment. A group of children were randomly divided into two classes. The teachers were told that the students in first class were high achievers that should do well. The second class was labeled as “underachievers” who needed special help.

At the beginning of the year there was no difference between the two groups of children in terms of ability. However, by the end of the school year the class that was labeled ‘high-achievers’ did better than average work, while the class of so-called “underachievers” not only scored poorly, but they were less liked by their teacher.

It turned out that people unconsciously create situations that encourage expected behavior. If our expectations of a person are negative, we actually encourage them to behave negatively.

Something to think about (and not only if you are a teacher or a parent).

What to do about it: If you want to change someone else’s behavior, change your expectations about this person. Expect better from people, treat them accordingly and sooner or later they will begin to act that way.

2. Bosses that ask “Would you do me a favor?” 5 minutes before you have to leave the office

It is easy to suspect that these people are actually making our life harder on purpose. But for the sake of your own peace of mind, it is better not to let these thoughts get you all worked up.

What to do about it:

Well, there is always a polite way to say “no” and offer a constructive solution. However, if you feel that the project is urgent, take the initiative to help your team or your company out. It’s give and take.

Today you will stay after work to finish the project and next time your boss may be equally understanding if you have to leave work early.

3. Mean old ladies

There is always a reason why an old lady gives you a stern look – you are being too loud, you are dressed inappropriately, you are not crossing the street in the right place.

Sometimes it can be endearing, but if you are already having a bad day, a mean old lady can drive you to the edge of frustration.

What to do about it:

I’ve come to realize that when people initiate conflicts, it is actually an expression of their inner state expressed externally. You, your personality, your looks or your actions have nothing to do with it. It is not personal, so why take it personally? Here are a few ideas on how to respond to mean people.

4. That person, who cuts in front of everybody in line

This is something that gets me worked up. Even if I have plenty of time and I am not in a hurry, I still feel bad for the other people in line who are being treated unjustly. Are you more patient than I am or do you feel this kind of frustration too?

What to do about it:

First, it helps to remember that where our attention goes, our energy flows. If we nurture negative thoughts or think of spiteful remarks then we are wasting our energy on negativity, instead of on our personal wellbeing. Situations like this could be a great opportunity to learn to control our initial negative responses and practice understanding.

After all, we don’t know why the person is cutting in front of everyone in line: maybe they just have a quick question or maybe there is an emergency.

5. People that give our kids noise-making toys as a present

Last week I babysat my niece and I actually made this mistake. I bought her one of those fancy kids’ cellphones that makes sounds when you press the buttons and plays 3 different melodies. By the end of the 4th hour of her calling me and our “imaginary” friends I was actually contemplating ‘accidentally’ dropping and breaking the stupid thing.

The solution to the problem was finally obtained – to wait for the right moment and then take the batteries out!

What to do about it:

For starts, I would inform every friend and relative in your family that a drum set is off the limits. Second, I would declare that those who have the ‘genial’ idea of giving annoying noise-making toys to your children should be the ones babysitting your excited off-springs.

This technique definitely worked miracles for me. :)

6. Friends that tell you “I told you so”

It is one thing to admit that you made a mistake and another to hear it from a person that you actually consider your friend. Friends should be there to support you and pull you up when you are feeling down, not make themselves feel better at your expense, right?

What to do about it:

It helps to keep in mind that when people say “I told you so”, they are trying to say, “I hope that you will listen to my advice in the future”. Surprisingly enough, it is their way of protecting you from future mistakes (even if this strategy does not make you feel any better). If this is not the help you need – voice it out, without getting defensive. Bring the conversation back to what they can do to help you deal with the situation.

7. Co-workers that always have to have the last word

Some people still believe that “Truth is Born of Arguments”. So they drag you into an argument and then make it their goal to prove to you that they are right (even if you both know it is not the case).

What to do about it:

Agree to disagree. Any discussion, where at least one of the two parties refuses to listen soon turns into a battle of egos- me-versus-you, Who is right? sort of game. It leads nowhere, resolves nothing and when the heat of an argument cools down it leaves you feeling angry, vindictive and upset.

So the ultimate question is why waste your energy on empty conflicts?

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  • Karentann

    love your pages but the bar with the tweets etc gets in the way of reading the articles.

    • EliseCaile

      I agree. This is actually one of the most annoying, intrusive “promote me!” bar overlays I’ve yet encountered, which makes me want to do anything BUT promote an article when it’s shoved in my face the entire time and I’m having to scroll around it. Great content, but I never promote any page that tries to force me to. I like for the site owner to be glad I stopped by–and respect MY time enough to not make my entire visit a chore to read. I prefer to recommend pages that are more discreet in their page promotion placement and let readers spend their time actually focusing on the content (and more likely to recommend it) than being so annoyed that the content doesn’t have nearly the same impact…an additional drawback. I’ll remember that bar long after I’ve forgotten what the article actually said. Sorry to be so blunt. Thanks for the uplifting insights you do provide.

  • Irungu kagiri

    very inspiring article…… no one should waste my time and happiness. But that bar with tweets is actually a let down