I am a very easy-going positive person. My mom has always said “I would like a dictator if I met one”. In 2009 I started and ran a small group in my community. For a decade we helped families and individuals in need, I loved this job and wouldn’t trade the experience it has given me. that’s not to say I didn’t have my fair share of difficult people throughout that job.
There was this one group that we had worked with a few times, another group in the area doing similar work. It was a great resource for us. We would get families that needed help from them and in return we would provide these families with food and vice versa. Every time we would help this group and would provide food for a family and all we would ask is that they would come pick up what we had collected for that specific family and deliver it to them.
Every time we would help them, or they would help us it would always be on their terms. Where they were most comfortable with and it was always so frustrating because I would explain to them how difficult it was for me to arrange meet ups because I am disabled, and I can’t drive. I had to depend on someone to do this for me, either someone on my team or a family member to meet with them. No matter how many times we worked with them, it was always their way no matter what.
I learned I had to suck it up and move on. Take the help however we were getting it at the time because we needed it. I wasn’t going to turn it away just because these people we dealt with were difficult. I always thanked them and appreciated their help and respected what they did because it was a great thing even though they weren’t my favorite people to work with.
That was on the professional side of things, now a personal side. I have a best friend. I was planning this 30th surprise brunch for this year. I had to cancel due to the pandemic. I reached out to all of his friends. Everyone was so nice and warm and appreciative of what I was doing for this person, but there was this one friend I knew in the back of my mind I was going to have difficulties with.
This friend I was planning this for has told me before I wouldn’t get along with this person because they are a lot. But I had to try, so last year I reached out to this friend, told them what my plan was. I wanted to see if they could fly out for it this year because this person lived out of state and I wanted to give them enough time so they could make arrangements. Initially I reached out a year in advance. I didn’t hear back for about 6 months. They told me they couldn’t come and thanked me for sending them an invite. Which I then replied, “of course how could I plan something for him and not include/ invite you”. I thanked them for getting back to me. As frustrated as I was at the situation and their lack of response for something for their close friend. I sucked it up and dealt with it because I wasn’t thinking about how difficult this person was being, I was thinking of how happy my friend would have been if this person could have attended. That was worth dealing with them for him and I love him and that’s all that matters.
My point is we all have to deal with difficult people, whether that be in a personal or professional manner. You could be the nicest person in the world and not like a person because they rub you the wrong way. You don’t have to like everyone all the time. You’re not supposed to, but you should respect them and be civil towards them. Everyone deserves that no matter what you think of them. You should respect and treat them the way you want to be treated. I think it’s important to know the difference between being respectful and not having to be the friendliest. I think if we all realized that and the personal growth it takes to know the difference people would handle difficult people better.