Send a Valentine to Your World

Send a Valentine to Your World

Among our many course offerings is one called ‘Dealing With Difficult People’.  This seems to be a popular topic, since there are books and blogs and articles that offer to help us with this prickly problem.  But maybe there is another way to approach the Difficulty Divide.

A student in a recent class observed that maybe the difficult people should take a course on how not to be difficult, and give everyone else a rest.

What an idea!  To put at ease in one quick course the apparently legions of people who are struggling with difficult others? Genius!

But wait – who will come to the course?  Who are the self-anointed Difficult People among us, and will they self- select?  Who is going to slip a note in their inboxes with a sign-up notice?

Instead of waiting for The Difficults to reveal and repent, maybe we can all assume at least a dab of difficult in our very own selves, and see what we can do to sweeten our behavior.  What a gift to those who are busily trying to figure out how to deal with us!

Make a valentine for the people in your world.  Here are three little confections to get you started:

  1. Listen – Make this your first, and maybe only, communication behavior for a while.  Have a problem?  A question?  A complaint? An observation? Instead of beginning with “I think/feel/want/like/notice, begin with “What do you think/feel/want/like/notice?  And then listen to the answer.


  1. See the Other Side – Instead of building your case, see if you can construct an argument for the other.   Ask:  what is true for that person in this situation.  Walk with that position before you refine yours.


  1. Speak Language of Collegiality – There are few situations in which you can’t agree with at least something said by the other person, or acknowledge the honesty of the other position, or at least respect the person if not the message –  say that you do, and mean it.

Why not give being less difficult a try?  And like all love notes, make it last!

Happy Valentine’s day~