By Stephanie Brewer

Wouldn’t be nice if everyone got along? If every person was kind, collaborative and everyone shared common goals then it seems life would be a lot easier.

In reality, each of us is different from anyone else. We have unique preferences, different styles of communication and ways we like to get things done. These differences help make life more interesting and allow us to get to know a wide variety of people who help us expand how we look at the world.

While our differences can help to make life more interesting, they can also cause challenges when it comes to getting along together. Sometimes our differences can even create difficult situations. And then there are people who just seem to be difficult all the time. It doesn’t seem to matter how hard you try, every interaction with that other person ends badly.

Learning to work together and make the most of the different strengths and knowledge that each of us has is the very best way to learn to live and work together.There are some specific things you can do to get along with people who seem to be hard to get along with. Below are seven tips for dealing with difficult people.

  1. Be understanding.Remember that each person has challenges that we may not know about. Keep in mind that difficult people could be struggling with difficult situations in their own lives. Be patient with them.
  2. Be helpful.If you can help someone solve a difficult problem, they will think of you as a helpful source. The question, “How can I help?“ can be a powerful way to develop a positive relationship with someone.
  3. Be interested in others.Look for things you have in common with the other person. You may be able to develop a relationship around some common interests.
  4. Be kind.Practice consistent kindness. Ask, “How are you?“Be sincere.Smile.
  5. Be respectful of other people‘s opinions and perspectives. Be open to learning new things—you may change your own opinion about something when you learn more!
  6. Focus on the facts. If a disagreement occurs, stay calm. Try to remove emotion from the conversation. Focus on the facts and use a kind and sincere tone of voice.
  7. Agree to disagree.If a discussion seems to be turning into an argument, be prepared to end the conversation politely. Be friendly but firm and walk away. Its okay not to agree with everyone and it’s always better to keep discussions friendly and professional—especially when your opinion is different from others.

Following these seven tips will help you manage difficult people more easily. And these tips are good for any interaction with others! When you focus on being genuinely interested and helpful to others, you’ll find that all your conversations blossom.