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Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation

How to Love Difficult People: Receiving and Sharing God's Mercy

There are difficult people in my world who are hard to love. Some of them are determined to protect themselves; prickly and constantly on the defensive, it only takes something little to set them off. They lash out verbally, and then withdraw emotionally and sometimes physically, cutting off all chance of communication. Others are just plain nasty for no apparent reason. They seem to take perverse pleasure in sabotaging every interaction, so most exchanges end unhappily with hard feelings on both sides. And then there are the Eeyore types who mope through life always looking at the dark side. They notice and (endlessly!) discuss every gloomy detail of their lives. They throw a wet blanket on every conversation. Frankly, I get tired of them all.

How do I deal with difficult people? Sometimes I avoid them by ignoring their emails, losing their telephone messages, or not allowing them to catch my eye at work. Other times I try to manage our interactions by keeping them as short as possible. Occasionally I cope by talking about them with someone else. And when I’ve just had it, I give them a piece of my mind. Sarcastic, critical, and loud are my preferred options when I’m fed up and can’t take it anymore.

Hmm, that’s an interesting set of reactions…avoidance, manipulation, gossip, quarreling. You know, when you think about it, I can be pretty difficult to love too.