Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dealing with difficult people

When I first started seeing patients for physical therapy in a home care setting, I would get frustrated at how difficult some of them could be.  Now, I'm not talking about how difficult their diagnoses were but just how some of them seemed to be miserable, grumpy and impossible to please.  When working with another therapist on a particularly negative patient I got frustrated and asked her "how do you DEAL with this day in and day out?!?!"

Then I got advice that has forever changed the way I deal with people.

The other therapist told me "Nicole, I kill them with kindness". 

I started right away.  As soon as I knew I was walking into a "difficult" patient's house, I would put on a big smile and treat the patient with EXTRA kindness, EXTRA patience, EXTRA love.  And things started changing.

But not how I thought they would.

Not all my patients changed.  Some were still grumpy after my attitude change...and that was OK.  What changed was ME.  I began automatically being "sweet as pie" to ALL my patients and soon it wasn't an act.  I was happier.  I began genuinely wanting to make things better for some of my patients who never seemed happy.  In fact, some of my most difficult patients became the ones I enjoyed visiting the most!  I realized that if I were homebound, in pain, or lonely...I may not be the most agreeable person either.  After giving this piece of advice to my husband, he has done this with some of his patients and has had wonderful success as well!

I read once that "you love God as much as you love your worst enemy".  Next time you meet someone disagreeable, try to smile and "kill 'em with kindness" and see what blessings happen for you :)