8 ways to not let difficult people ruin your day

It’s all too easy to let a difficult person ruin your day. But dwelling on the issue does more harm than good.

And if you let a difficult person ruin your day, they’ve won, really.

So it’s always best to refocus your mind to stop yourself from writing off a perfectly good day from one disruptive person.  

Let’s explore these 8 ways to not let difficult people ruin your day.

1) Don’t dwell on the conversation

When something bad happens, it’s all too easy to think about it and think about it and think about it…

A difficult person or situation can eat away at you if you let it.

But going over and over the conversation in your head isn’t going to change what happened.

Naturally, you’re going to think about it a little bit, especially immediately afterward.

So, try setting yourself a limit for how long you’re going to think about it.

Like 10 or 15 minutes, before moving on with your day and not thinking about it again.

And if it pops back into your head, tell yourself a clear “No” to stop your thoughts from going back to the person.

If you can, distract yourself with something else, or think about something different instead.

2) Stop thinking about what you should’ve said

We’ve all been there after an argument, dwelling on what we should have said or done.

These conversations inside our heads could last for days, weeks, months, or even years, if we let them.

But no good ever comes from ruminating for long periods over what didn’t happen.

Just like you shouldn’t dwell on what did happen, don’t think about what could’ve happened either.

And if you really need to think about it, give yourself a time limit to learn any lessons, and then stop.

If you catch yourself thinking about it again later on in the day, try journalling your thoughts, speaking to a friend on a phone, or meditating to get the thoughts out.

3) Consider what the person is going through

There’s no excuse for people being rude, disrespectful, or unnecessarily difficult. Except when there is.

As the saying goes, “It’s their issue, not yours”.

Most, if not all, of the time, when people are causing problems, it’s because of how they’re feeling rather than something you’ve done.

Like maybe their mum is dying and they’re lashing out in anger. Or they’re being bullied at home and saying nasty things is all they know.

You don’t have to convince yourself they are a good person.

But making excuses for them can make you feel slightly better sometimes.

This can be tricky to do if it’s someone you know very well. But it’s very easy to do if it’s a stranger, as you can “make up” anything you like about their lives.

4) Let it go and start again

No matter what’s happened in a day, or what time it is, you should never write off a day as bad/pointless/wasted or say to yourself “Oh well, I’ll try again tomorrow”.

Even though it can sometimes feel like your day has been ruined, it only will be if you let it.

I’m not saying this is easy to do. After all, no one likes being moaned at by a difficult person.

And it’s easy to let it get to you and ruin your entire day.

But stop yourself before you let it go too far.

Think about it for a little while. Then breathe in, breathe out, and let it go.

Start anew as many times as you need to throughout the day. You’ll have many a better day for it!

5) Think about the good that’s happened today and the good that lies ahead

A ton of stuff can happen in 24 hours.

Just because you’ve encountered one difficult person (or two if you’re unlucky), that doesn’t mean the entire day is or will be full of bad things.

Don’t write off the day too soon. Instead, focus on the good that’s already happened.

Make a list in your head or take a few minutes to write it down.

Go as far as noting the small details, like that the bus driver smiled at you on the way to work this morning, or that you got a nice text from your partner.

If it’s still early in the day, think about all the good things that are about to happen today, or the things you’re looking forward to, instead.

Like what you have for lunch today or the fact that you’re meeting a friend after work.

6) Avoid the difficult person (if possible)

This may not be possible if the difficult person is your boss or someone who sits next to you at work.

But, if you can, it’s a good idea to avoid the person that’s causing you pain as much as you can for your own mental health.

Like if it’s a friend or a partner, don’t text them back for a while or tell them you’ll speak to them tomorrow.

If it’s a work colleague or a customer, try to stay out of their way for the day or until they leave.

7) Don’t take the bait

If a difficult person is trying to goad you into an argument with them, don’t take the bait.

As the British saying goes, “Keep calm and carry on”.

Which essentially means, if someone is trying to pick a fight with you, don’t let it get to you and keep doing what you’re doing.

Stay levelheaded and don’t react in anger. It’ll only make the situation worse.

If you catch yourself getting caught up in the heated discussions, try to remove yourself from the conversation.

Like by telling them you’re stepping outside for several minutes, that you’re going to get a manager, or even just walking away if it’s a complete stranger.

If it’s your responsibility to stay involved, try to diffuse the situation with a calm voice and a cool exterior.

8) Talk it through with family, friends, or a partner

Your loved ones are there for you when you need them the most.

If you’re having a difficult day because of your boss, customer, work colleague, or even a friend, reach out to someone you can trust for some emotional support.

Many studies have shown that talking about your problems is therapeutic, helping to relieve emotional distress and physical discomfort.

Whether it be via text, a quick phone call, or in person, talk about the issue as much as needed to get it off your chest. You can even cry about it if it helps.

Let them be there for you and support you through what’s happened.

Then, when all is said and done, let it go and move on with your day.

Final thoughts

When you look for them, it’s often the little things in life that are the most beautiful.

So process what you need to process to get over the situation, then re-focus your attention on the positives.

Find the good in the ordinary and seek support from loved ones when you need it.

After all, life is too short to let difficult people disrupt your peace for too long.

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

10 little things couples can do to boost each other’s self-esteem

9 ways to show someone you love them without saying a word