Dealing with Difficult People, Part Two

This week, Dan continues his series on dealing with difficult people. He provides three questions to consider about the nature of these relationships. He then explains that your ability to know your yes from your no, your willingness to address confrontation, and your readiness for reconciliation are all central to working within and out of these relationships.

Dan begins with a picture of a difficult person he had dealt with. The man was sponsoring a conference he was running. When he arrived and they had an initial conversation, it was clear that he had critical remarks about his concept of what it means to forgive and love.

The more the two wrestled with their differences, there was an upping of ante for who would speak more. As opinionated as the man was, there was a fragility Dan had to take care of. In some ways, the man was Dan’s boss, and in the differing there was a clear sense of envy.

Three categories are important to consider in these types of interactions:

  1. How much freedom do you have with this person? Are you free to engage, and if not, what is the bondage?
  2. What’s the purpose or function of the relationship? Where’s it meant to go?
  3. What’s the presence or absence of the capacity to forgive?

What must first be addressed is: what hinders you from loving a difficult person? Three questions will help in this area:

1. Do you know the difference between your yes and no?

“To the degree you are dutifully bound to the desires, dreams, and strictures of others, you don’t really have a yes or no.”

“Every yes has the implication for a hundred more yes’s or no’s.”

“If we can’t say no, we let the most opinionated people write our story.”

2. Do you have the ability to vulnerably, but not unwisely, address the confrontation?

“You need to be able to address that there is something keeping the relationship from growing in a way that is profitable.”

“Every relationship has at its core the potential for greater conflict.”

“Conflict is actually a gift. Without conflict, you cannot grow. Conflict opens the potential to repair.”

3. Are you poised for reconciliation? Do you have a stance for forgiveness?

What Dan put words to in this podcast is the need for flexibility (knowing your yes and no), strength (can you address confrontation), and endurance (forgiveness, not simply to endure a relationship but for ultimate repentance no matter what the other person does).

This brings us to Romans 4. “It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.”