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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

7 Secrets to Dealing with Annoying People

How to deal with the people who drive you nuts, from Ed Bacon, author of Eight Habits of Love.

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istock/Petar Chernaev

Confront them.

Don’t be afraid to approach people you’ve been avoiding. Most of the time, resolution is only a conversation away.

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istock/Petar Chernaev

Collect your thoughts.

Before any big conversation, take a walk or a few deep breaths. That can help you avoid attacking or insulting the other person.

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Start with a question.

Ask if he has the time and inclination to talk about the issue. If the answer is no, wait for another opportunity. If he says yes, start by expressing how much you value your relationship with him.

4 / 7 Culala

Speak carefully.

Remind yourself to keep the criticisms to a minimum. Imagine the conversation going well and leading to a better understanding of each other.

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Give your full attention.

If you ask her open-ended questions, she’ll feel heard and be more inclined to consider what you have to say. It’s also crucial to allow time for her to respond to what you’ve said, and to speak without interruption.

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Admit mistakes.

Acknowledge what you may have done that was hurtful, and let grudges go.

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istock/George Clerk

Accept the outcome.

Sometimes a resolution isn’t possible. Acknowledge to yourself that you tried; everything else is out of your control.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest