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Difficult People - Help

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Recently I've encountered situations where good, ongoing relationships started to turn sour and then it seemed that everything I said was argued or contradicted or criticized. For example, a friend with whom I've talked about the stock market for 4 years would make an observation, but when I made one I was suddenly making pointless guesses, and when I came back with more reasons, then I was "arguing." This happened with a previous boss and another friend, too.


It seems there's something psychological underneath this, maybe similar to a marriage that turns south and the partners no longer are on the same wavelength and they react subconsciously to things that are said because they're coming from a different emotional/psychological place.


I'm posting this because in a deteriorating situation, I don't know how to handle it. Reasoning or talking about the problem doesn't seem to work, nor does simply passively accepting "abuse" work, and it seems that walking away might be making more out of something than it is. Bottom line is that the problem is difficult to define or explain, so I have trouble dealing with it.


Can anyone relate to what I'm saying and suggest a way of approaching this kind of situation or this kind of person?

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This may sound selfish, but I think from your post that you are putting too much stock in what other people say. I wouldn't stress over stuff like this. Just handle it the best way you know how, but not to put so much stock in other people because in the end, you have to worry about you.

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I've had this happen a lot with past managers at work. Usually it seems to come about when there is some stress involved for an unrelated reason. It's an extremely hard cycle to break out of, where they'll blame you or your attitude for everything.


I still haven't figured out what to do myself, it's not something that the other party ever seems to want to talk about in a reasonable manner.


With friends it should be different though. With them, you should be able to sit down and talk to them about what they see the issues as, and why your ideas are no good. If they can't tell you, I'm not sure what you can do other than avoid those issues in future as they cause more friction.

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Ash, you're right. When this happened with the boss, it was during a stressful time that he was under a lot of criticism, and other managers said he was taking it out on me by nitpicking and choosing me as a target. It was a downward cycle, exactly as you say. As for friends, I'm sure it's worthwhile to avoid certain topics, but when a friendship is centered around opinions on a certain topic, then it seems the best thing to do is push that "friendship" down to a low priority...or end it altogether.


bzborrow, I understand what you're saying. A difficult person's opinion should not carry much weight. Thanks for your input.

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