"Dealing With People You Can't Stand"

"Dealing With People You Can't Stand"

I wish I had read this book YEARS ago!

I have always been a bookish girl. Which is why I'm so dismayed that it took me so long to realize that, if you don't really get what's going on or how to handle a person or situation in life, you can find a book to tell you what to do. If there's one thing I could go back in time and tell myself, that would be it: if you're stumped in a social situation, find a book to help you through it!
I found myself stumped in a social situation recently. After browsing through Amazon recommendations, I settled on this book. And I'm so glad that I did.

This book, as I'm sure you can guess, is all about how to recognize and cope with difficult people. It is geared towards the business world, which means that (unlike some business self-help books) its usefulness in everyday life is limited. But as far as dealing with difficult people in office situations, Dealing With People You Can't Stand is exceptional. 

The authors take an analytical approach to the subject, and lay out specific strategies and scripts. They also make it clear that, in dealing with a difficult person, YOU are the one who has to change. This can be a hard pill to swallow, but it's true: the difficult person isn't going to change, so if you want the situation to improve, you have to take responsibility for it. 
 
I also like the fact that the book begins by deciphering what the deal is with each difficult personality type (they identify 10 basic tropes). Without using a lot of jargon or cutesy language, the authors break down what fundamental goals and beliefs are driving each trope. This alone demystifies human behavior enough to help bridge the understanding gap. The book then goes on to explain how you need to change in order to best cope with each trope.
 
Basically, this is a walkthrough and cheat code for each difficulty level.
 
It begins by breaking down each personality by where it falls on a Cartesian coordinate system. The X axis is Passive -> Aggressive, and the Y axis is Task-Oriented versus People-Oriented. Thus we learn that the Tank belongs in the Aggressive/Task-Oriented quadrant. Further explication reveals that the Tank is frantic to complete a task, and furious at anything they perceive as an obstacle, upon which they will open fire without discretion, in an attempt to shift the perceived obstacle. 
 
Your best strategy when dealing with a Tank, therefore, is to step aside and make it clear that you are focused on completing the task with a minimum of extraneous information or "noise." 
 
I am genuinely grateful to the authors for having written this book! And I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who has to deal with difficult people. Which is to say, everyone.