After welcoming several new members to the group, announcements and Tips & Tricks were given by Elva (mostly the same as can be viewed on the recap of the Afternoon 2/13/17 meeting below so I won't repeat here), the group discussed "coping with difficult people" in our lives.
Elva challenged the group to share a time when someone might have called "them" difficult. A couple of members shared a time when they were called bossy or worse and we guessed what might have motivated that.
We talked about difficult bosses, employees, co-workers, family members, neighbors, church or other organization members, and customer service representatives.
Boss - bully, micromanager, doesn't keep confidences, criticizes in front of other, doesn't encourage or accept constructive suggestions.
Employee/co-worker - brown noser, back stabber, lazy, negative attitude, complainer, wastes too much time, doesn't pull their share of the load.
Family member - borrows money; expects more than you can or are willing to give of time, resources, attention; highly critical of everything you do (your children, home, attitude, religion or lack thereof).
Neighbor - Noise; pets/children run wild; car parking or reckless driving; litter; fence; druggie; city code enforcement - lawns, repairs, RV or boat parking; rude and/or dangerous.
Member of organization or church where you belong - "belief police" or "know-it-all. So sure (s)he is right on everything, including subjective opinions such as whether a movie was good or bad, best eating plan, correct English usage, political persuasion, religious beliefs.
Customer service - rude person who obviously doesn't give a flip about your complaint; restaurant wait staff or store clerk who calls anyone with gray hair or is estimated to be 50+ "sweetie" or "hon" (condescending, name you would call a small child but shouldn't call an older person, even if no ill intent is intended).
We only had an hour to talk and share so we ran out of time before we had an much time to discuss "solutions." We did agree that most of the time people who annoy/offend us are not intentionally doing it. Mostly, it's a misunderstanding and the offender is doing exactly what feels right to them under the circumstances. Therefore, it's a good thing to exercise patience and empathy to understand the situation from the other person's viewpoint.
Sometimes the best way "out" is to use humor to deflect an angry confrontation; sometimes it's good to apologize for our part in any misunderstanding; and sometimes a good way to prevent future problems is to make friendly overtures to the person BEFORE a conflict arises (e.g., welcome a new neighbor to your street, and chat with them out in the yard getting to know them on a personal level before you must address an "issue" with them).
Elva Roy is the Founder of the all-volunteer group "Ambassadors For Aging Well" which meets in Arlington, Texas.