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We all have to deal with difficult people from time to time. Perhaps it is a noisy neighbor or a bossy coworker. Fortunately, we can draw from the wisdom of the ages to help us gain inspiration. With this in mind, here are some quotes on how to deal with difficult people.
Dealing with negative criticism is the hardest. As Sydney B. Simon once wrote, “I defy anyone reading this book to tell me that she or he has ever felt in different, let alone uplifted, enriched, cheered up, or enhanced when put on the receiving end of a blast of criticism.”
Another of Mr. Simon’s quotes on how to deal with difficult people: “Thousands upon thousands of us [fail] to recognize that the knives of negative criticism which people stick in us are just as sharp and deadly as those made of steel and borne by assassins… our society has somehow conditioned us to accept the notion that criticism of all sorts is bound to be good for us. That it will make us more mature. That one of the marks of being a grown up woman or man is the ability to absorb all sorts of critical jabs, barbs, and thrusts. That the more it hurts the better for us.”
Mr. Simon is exactly right when he wrote this.
It’s true that many people refuse to listen to completely justified criticism. However, we are being drowned by the “self-help” ruse that we must listen to criticism because it is always say “gift” from people who care about us!
The people who are so quick to point out the importance of listening to constructive criticism forget the flipside; that other people can use negative and destructive criticism as a powerful weapon to break us down!
Jay Carter, author of the book “Nasty People” called such difficult people “invalidators.” He wrote: “It’s hard to recognize and invalidator, because a truly good one can bypass the scrutiny of your logical mind, and you find yourself feeling bad without knowing why…. the invalidator actually feels inferior to some other person, so he or she tries to make the other person feel small. Thus, the invalidator can control the victim.
George Zgourides defined the constant critic thusly: “This opponent is fond of pointing out your imperfections… everything you do is bad… and the criticizer feels compelled to tell you all about it, even if you don’t want to hear it.”
The author of this article describes in many more ways how to have a conversation with difficult people and how to deal with them effectively in his new course, “Break out of your Shell! How To Overcome Shyness So You Can Get On With Your Life!” In it, he discusses the following types of difficult people and how to talk with them: