How to Deal with Difficult People

difficultpeoplePhoto from http://www.chopra.com

In my job as a real estate broker I get to deal with different types of people everyday. Most of my clients are a pleasure to deal with. Some, however, are a bit difficult.

I remember a few years ago when I was working on this deal in Xavier Estates. My client wanted to purchase this 5-bedroom luxury house overlooking Cagayan de Oro. It had a huge lawn with a swimming pool. It was one of my favorite listings and ever since we got that listing, I’ve praying that I would be the one to sell it. Now my client was a 24-year-old businesswoman named Maria (not her real name) who was a bit on the tough side. She would shout at people (yes, even at me) and was generally difficult to deal with. At first, I felt a bit resentful towards her. I was raised in an environment where shouting was not a normal part of our routine.

Then one day, as we were waiting at for some documents, Maria told me her story. When she was eight years old, their village Healer told her parents that she was bad luck and that they had to give her up or else the entire family would suffer. So her parents took her to her grandparents house and left her there. Since her grandparents were already old and had little money, she had to work to take care of them and herself. She started to grow vegetables in their backyard and sell them at the night market. In the mornings she went to school. On weekends she would man their small sari-sari store. Sometimes Maria’s male cousins would storm inside her store and take away all her earnings for the day. Since they were bigger and stronger than her, she couldn’t fight back. So instead, to protect her earnings, she put her money in tin cans and buried it in her backyard. All throughout grade school and high school, Maria worked hard to fend for herself and her grandparents while at the same time, using her wits to outsmart her cousins who would drop by from time to time to bully her.

Maria’s first house

When Maria reached 13 years old, she happened to pass by one house for sale in Carmen which she liked very much. She liked the quiet environment and peaceful neighborhood. The house was being sold for 3.5 million. Maria thought for a moment. Where would she get that kind of money? After a few minutes, she went home and started digging. She dug up every single tin can she had buried over they years and started counting the money she had accumulated. The total amount was 3.5 million. And that was how Maria bought her first house.

Nothing beats hard work

Over the years, Maria engaged in a variety of businesses until she found one where she really hit the big bucks – the textile industry. She started buying RTW’s from a factory in Korea and selling it wholesale to boutiques and malls in different cities. She had clients from Pagadian, Ozamis, Dipolog, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan and Davao. Her business was so successful her clients actually had to get in line to purchase her products. The factory didn’t have any other buyers as it sold everything it made to her. Despite not being able to go to college, Maria’s dedication to her business and willingness to work hard enabled her to succeed where so many had failed.

Put yourself in the other persons shoes

Maria’s story not only inspired me to continue reaching for my dreams, it allowed me to understand her better. It was only when I put myself in her shoes that I was able to see where she was coming from. At a young age, she was rejected by her family. Over the years, many people tried to trick her and take advantage of her. It’s no wonder why she would so easily get defensive and angry and suspect that people were trying to deceive her. We are shaped by our environment and experiences. I could see that although Maria was, by worldly standards, successful she was still struggling with trust issues because of what she went through as a kid. And so, instead of feeling resentful I started to feel compassion towards her.

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Are you dealing with a difficult person in your life now?

When dealing with difficult people, instead of reacting, try to understand where that person is coming from. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. My experience taught me that people are the way they are for a reason. Perhaps that person who’s mistreating may just be having a bad day. Or maybe he’s going through a huge family problem. Or maybe he’s up to his ears in debt.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.
Dale Carnegie

 

Because I made the effort to understand Maria, we were able to keep our relationship. I was able to help her buy the house she wanted and now she’s living in her dream house. A beautiful 2-storey, ridge-view mansion in Xavier Estates that overlooks the city. The little girl who was supposedly “bad luck” became the good luck charm of her family. Last time I saw Maria, she was with her family. She had forgiven her parents and is now building a relationship with them again. 

beautiful-house-1Photo from wlpapers.com (not the actual photo of her house but it looks similar to this)

Never burn bridges 

I believe in never burning bridges with people. You never know when you might run into them again. The world is becoming smaller everyday. If you have a person in your life now that’s difficult to deal with, try to understand that person. Decide to love them.

John 15:12

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Go live a Truly Wealthy life

-Alex

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