Having worked most of my career in the field, I rarely came across difficult people (farmers are heavenly and I was the only staff!). When I started working in the office, I was shocked to find a colleague who acted in a manner that I last saw while in primary school. It is expected that we all mature at some point, right? Talking to other people, I realized that almost in every office, you find such people. We have all faced that difficult relationship be it at home, school or work. Strenuous relationships could bring down your productivity and harbor negative attitudes. The sooner you learn how to deal with annoying people, the better. In my bid to try working out such relationships, these points have proven golden;
Examine yourself: it is possible to think that the other person is to blame for the difficult relationship while you are. Take an honest evaluation of your relationship, can you trace where things went sour? What is the reaction of the other colleagues? Are they having difficulties with the same person?
Understand the person: people behave the way they do for a reason. Stephen Covey in his The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People narrates how he was irritated by a father who could not control his kids while travelling; only to learn that he had just lost his wife and could not handle it. While you may not diagnose their problem from a psychology’s point of view, simple observations can help. Competition, low self esteem, a feeling of importance, etc makes people hostile.
Do not force relationships: this has worked for me a lot; a friend suggested it to me. Friendship is a two way traffic (you have heard of that one). Keep your relationship professional and do not be over zealous to make difficult people like you.
Hold your tongue: hostile people will want to trash your efforts and pick up a fight. Resist the urge. Answering them back makes them win and you could end up saying regrettable things. Bite your tongue, walk away, ignore the issue completely or address it on a later day when you are sober. Operate above them. This in no way makes you a weak person, sometimes silence is the biggest weapon.
Ask around: if the person is hostile to other people, there must be an effective in-house way of dealing with the person. You will get to know how other people cope and adopt the method.
Take up the issue with supervisor: if the harassment is beyond you or is life threatening, report it.
Maximize on their good: it is difficult to change people, accepting them and looking to their brighter side is the much we can do. Everyone has a good and bad inside them; it depends on what is manifested more. Try to ignore their annoying behaviour and find something good in them.
Confront: most annoying people are cowards. Once you firmly confront them, they show respect.
Pray: in all this, do not forget the one who understands the human condition, God.
Have you dealt with strenuous relationships? What was your approach?