At one time or another, we’ve all had to deal with difficult people. They may be a co-worker, a family member or a friend. They are the kind of people who can ruin your day with just a few words, even if that is not their intent. You may not have any control over how this person acts, and you may not want to end the relationship – so what do you do? There are ways to manage difficult relationships without ending them. Below are several tips that can help these difficult relationships to be more enjoyable and certainly less stressful.

Managing Difficult Relationships

Create Boundaries – If this person calls during dinner repeatedly or is always expecting a ride somewhere – it’s time to set some firm boundaries. Tell them you are not available after 6pm to talk on the phone and suggest they take an Uber if they need a ride. You are not responsible for them, they are. It is your job to create firm boundaries and then maintain them.

Respond rather than React – When a difficult person says or does something that upsets you the first thing to do is not lose your cool. Don’t give them your power. If you feel anxious, angry or frustrated at something they have done take a few moments and maintain your composure.

Back Away – Some people are simply difficult. They may not mean to be and they may not even know they are. The reality is, there isn’t much you can do to change them. In fact, there is nothing you can do to change them. You can change how your react to them. If your aunt is always making passive/aggressive remarks at family gatherings you can simply choose to ignore her and stay clear of her. Other family members surely know her routine and won’t blame you if you keep your distance.

Let it Go – If someone is irritating to you, your best action is to let it roll off your back like the proverbial duck. This is where you can draw on your inner southern belle. Repeat to yourself “bless their heart” and move on.

You are not Responsible for their Feelings – This is a difficult lesson to learn for most people, and one that can take years to master. You are not responsible for another person’s feelings. Say it again “I am not responsible for your feelings.” The other person can feel anyway they will, they are free to be happy, sad, angry etc… but it is not your responsibility. More importantly, you don’t have the power to make them feel any way at all. It’s all on them. Isn’t that liberating.

Assume the Best – Sometimes it’s just easier to assume they are doing their best and let it go. Sometimes that isn’t possible, but when it is, it can save you so much frustration.

We all have difficult people to deal with. If we can’t get along with them and we just can’t or don’t want to deal with them anymore, it might be time to end the relationship.