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The SKY is FALLING! How to Deal With Dramatic/Difficult People

If you are in the multi-family industry,work at an apartment community, its a given: You WILL have to deal with difficult people.  I’m not just talking about the person who might be unhappy about the color of the sky, I’m talking about the person who is IRRATE and thinks it’s YOUR fault ”the sky is falling!” How you can deal with THAT person and NOT have it ruin the rest of your day? Whether it is an disgruntled employee, an irrate apartment resident or even your BOSS (or any other miriad of difficult/dramatic people you may have to deal with), here are my top 3 TIPS:

3.) You KNOW you’re going to have to deal with difficult people, be prepared:

  • Create a place where you can meet with difficult people – whether it is your office or a conference room.
  • The room should be clean, neat, free of clutter, and decorated in soft, muted, calm tones like light blues or greens to help create a calming effect.
  • Have a desk or conference table where both parties can sit to discuss the issue. The bigger the table or desk, the better. This keeps difficult people on the OTHER side of a large desk/table and away from you.
  • Do not keep any heavy or sharp objects on or around the desk/table.
  • Invest in a long horizontal mirror. You can create a BIG psychological advantage through this technique. Have the mirror mounted on the wall behind you, so that when you are talking to the difficult person, they can see THEMSELVES in the mirror. People forget how ugly they can physically be when they are angry. Most people don’t like to see themselves that way – and if they are faced with themselves, they will likely tone down their “ugliness.”

2.) If it all possible, discuss their issue with them on your turf. You’ve just positioned your office or conference room to create a sense or tranquility, you’ve removed all dangerous objects, and you have a mirror to show them how ugly they can be. Have them come to your office.

2.) Remember, it’s not YOU, it’s THEM. When a person is THIS difficult/dramatic – it’s either their way of life or something else has escalated their emotional state. Either this drama is normal for them OR, they are taking out their emotional frustrations on you. Don’t take it personally. - if you do, you are buying into their drama or helping to escalate their emotional frustrations even further. Instead, just listen. Don’t judge, try not to blame them for anything, and don’t defend any point of view. Someone who is going to be this difficult is not going to listen or let you reason with them – at least not yet. It could be that they are having a bad day and taking it out on you. It could be that they have gone through a recent loss (lover? job? stocks?), and they are not in the right frame of mind. Whatever the case, don’t take it personally. Instead:

  • Thank them for coming and sharing their point of view with you, 
  • Ask them to give you a couple of days to think it over. This gives them some time to cool off, and gives you some time to decide how to handle the situation in the most beneficial way. (And that may entail calling your HR department, or attorney.)
  • When they leave, shake it off, knowing that YOU are not the problem. You have a business to run and office to lead. Don’t take on their emotional baggage.

For those that TRULY believe the sky is falling, you’ll need some professional help (and they might too!). Give yourself the time to call in help – your company’s HR department, your attorney, another person in your office – whatever the proper process is at your company or apartment community.

For the most part, difficulties do pass, and diffucult people will move on. Creating that calming environment, and allowing them to communicate what their issues will allow you & your the emotionally elevated person the opportunity to discuss at a less stressful time.

How do you feel? How have you dealt with difficult people? How do you shake of their negative energy? Leave a comment and let’s discuss how to deal with it.

Don’t Get it? RENT SODA. GET IT!

-Daisy Nguyen in Minneapolis, Minnesota



Business & Marketing Consulting to the Apartment Industry

Web:   Email: Daisy {at} RentSoda(.)com

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Picture provided by STEFFE on FLICKR through Creative Commons license.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by The Apartment Nerd, Daisy Nguyen. Daisy Nguyen said: My latest blog article: The SKY is falling! How to deal with difficult/dramatic people: [...]

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