Overall, the people we encounter in Tyler, Longview, Kilgore, and all over East Texas seem to be, at least compared to some of the other regions in the country, a little bit friendlier.

And I'm beyond grateful for that. It's one of the things I enjoy about living here the most.

At the same time, most of us have one "difficult person" in our lives. Maybe more. Heck, to someone else we may be that difficult person. We all have different personalities and they mesh differently with others. However, there do seem to be some folks out there that almost seem to get joy out of creating discord in the world. Inevitably, we will have to deal with them either at work, at home, or in the world at large.

How do we deal with the difficult people we have to interact with in our lives?

It's so easy to begin to dread interacting with some of these people. Often, we can't avoid them--especially if they are a boss or a family member. But thankfully, I've found something that has been truly helpful when it comes to interacting with difficult people. It's simple...but not necessarily easy.

But learning THIS one emotional skill has been a game-changer for me.

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Learn to manage your own emotions first.

Obviously, we can't just flip a switch as if we are AI and become "un-affectable." We're human beings. We feel--even when we don't want to feel. But, with mindfulness practice and awareness, and maybe even therapy, we can learn to deal with them better.

When you're in a stronger place and in touch with, and thus better able to control, your own emotions, you're less likely to react as dramatically to someone else's. Maybe that person is just having a bad day. Very often it's the people who are rudest that need kindness the most.

There are also times when some difficult people WANT to see you react negatively.

Don't give them that pleasure. And bonus? When you remain calm, there's a better chance they may calm down, too.

From this point, it's much easier to begin finding some kind of common ground with this person that can lead to much better interaction.

And if that doesn't work? Well, there's always the sweet option of online blocking. Now if only we could make that work in the "real world."

What about you? What is your favorite way to deal with the difficult people in your life? I'd love to hear your response in the comments below or via email at tara.holley@townsquaremedia.com.

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