Handling Difficult People by Being One of Them

A few days ago I spoke to a group that started programming early in the morning. Although I wasn’t on until 9:45 I decided to get there early to hear the first speaker talk about communications. Our preliminary exercise required that we introduce the person to our right. The person on my left introduced the person on their left leaving me as the only person in the room to not be introduced. I was okay with that since I’d soon [hopefully] get their attention with my presentation.

The next exercise asked that we talk about a difficult person in our lives. Several people came to mind as being a bit troublesome, but not terribly difficult. And then I thought about how sometimes groups of people can be downright whiny and demanding. Rather than divulge details here [or there] I chose to share something so minor it probably didn’t qualify for sharing. But, my partner also found it challenging to think about any truly difficult people in their life. Keeping the disconcert to myself, I listened as the speaker said:

 “If we think people are difficult, they think we are, too. What would happen if we changed positions?”

What if you replayed all the conversations and reread the communications that you considered to be contentious? 

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