Dealing with Difficult People

Have you ever noticed that in a group environment there are people you naturally gravitate towards? Conversely have you noticed there are people you tend to dodge? From our youngest days in social settings we learn this truth. There are people we would chose to be around, and there are others we would chose to avoid.

In the workplace there are people whose offices seem to be a center for gathering and connecting. There are also those who step into a room and cause everyone to begin scattering. When out in the community there are people you run into and you choose to pause and chat. There are others that when you see them you start walking faster as to avoid them.

Perhaps even right now there is a person who comes to mind – someone you tend to sidestep when possible. I call these people EGR’s – Extra Grace Required. The term is not mine originally, but I have adopted it as a way of helping me understand what to do when there are people I struggle with.

It would be silly to suggest that you become close friends with everyone in your life – that is unrealistic. However in team environments it is crucial that we learn to get along and work well with everyone. The synergy of my team depends on my ability to work well with those whom I tend to clash with(Click to tweet)

How do you deal with EGR (Extra Grace Required) people in your life? The term EGR kind of tips the hand on that – you learn to extend more grace that you might naturally extend in a relationship.

When dealing with an EGR in my life there are 2 things I try to remember:

  1. Everyone has a backstory – the quarks, beliefs or habits that drive you crazy did not come out of thin air. There is a reason why many TV shows now have a habit of going “back” and showing the backstory for a character. Knowing the backstory helps us gain empathy and moves the EGR from a problem to a person in our mind. Empathy is essential when building a relational bridge with those we consider to be difficult. (Click to tweet)
  1. Everyone has value – We are created in the image of God. With most people that is a simple truth to embrace. When it comes to EGR’s it is a fact we must keep at the forefront of our mind. Those people who frustrate me, get on my nerves or rub me the wrong way have just as much value to God as I do. (Click to tweet)

Wherever I am involved (teams, groups, career, etc…) there is likely to be an Extra Grace Required person. One of the most helpful things to do when it comes to those EGR relationships is consider what you can learn from the relationship. We have a tendency to want to brush off or avoid those people who are hard to handle.

Perhaps the presence of an EGR person in our life is meant to challenge us, not frustrate us. The next time you struggle with a personality on your team consider it part of God’s development for you personally. It might be that God wants to expand your relational savvy. It is also very likely that God in the process of doing a work in your heart.

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