If you’re going to be a difficult person, you better also have some charms.
I’ve encountered too many people who are pains-in-the-asses without having any redeeming features to offset that. Or at least not any they are willing to employ.
I’m not an easy person and make no claims to it. But I KNOW I have my charms. I know also that I can be reasoned with.
This man I knew who killed himself 6 months ago was a pain in the ass. But that wasn’t the whole story. I think that’s really why he got under people’s skin; because he couldn’t be dismissed (out of hand). He ranted and raved online (and sometimes in person) but he wasn’t evil and he wasn’t stupid. He wasn’t a nutcase. If you met him in a social setting, he had a rather disarming way about him even. He liked people.
Too many people are just sucking up the air, taking from everyone around them or trying to, without putting anything back out there. Always an angle, an AGENDA. Sometimes transparent, sometimes not so much, but there nonetheless. I’m weary of them. And wary of them.
Now me, I hold people’s feet to the fire. I pin them down. I hold them accountable. I don’t roll over. I find my ground and I stand there. I’m surprised by how often other people are surprised when I do any of the aforementioned. There’s something about me that must suggest “lightweight” at first blush. Maybe it’s the friendly demeanor, the easy laugh, the extroversion. Maybe it’s how I look. But screw with me, screw with someone I care about, interfere with my money or well-being, try to push me around, or deliberately mislead me, and I won’t take it kindly. And what I mean by that is I will stand up for myself, I will say my piece, I will quit or slow up on giving my time, my attention, and my resources to the other party, I will back away. Why is anyone surprised by that. I can’t even make it a question. I am a grown up lady in charge of her own life. And yet they are. They act faux-baffled when called out.
Difficult people without redeeming virtues however, by definition, raise holy hell for no reason. No apparent reason. Their causes are indiscriminate and interchangeable. It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s the rant du jour. They have no sense of humor about themselves or their weak points. They are loud and they are obnoxious and they put people off. Instead of giving attention, people learn to avoid them or quickly get rid of them. The difficult folks think barking and attacking is the way to go, the way to get others to hop, but those others will then almost never do them a good turn voluntarily.
When I was younger, difficult, obnoxious people could railroad me, cow me, demand my time and attention. I must have thought there’d be terrible repercussions for not acquiescing. But were there? Are there? The last thing I want to do now is reward jackass behavior. What are they going to do? If they are not my source of income, food, shelter, or love, what can they do? Not very much is what I’ve come to see. I ask myself: “Who is this person to me? What incentive do I have to please them? Why should I do what they want? What’s in it for me? These questions were so unnatural to me for a long time, dating back to childhood, but they’ve grown easier. You have to be able to relinquish what other people think about you. I had to train myself to say what do I care what a jackass or an obnoxious person thinks about me?? Oh no, they won’t think I’m nice?! Yeah, I had to give that up.
I don’t think it’s that really difficult people just don’t know HOW to act decently, to make requests or state opinions in a civilized way. Hell, they teach “please” and “thank you” on Sesame Street, don’t they??! I think that secretly they use the element of surprise, catch people off-guard in order to get their attention or do their bidding. We’re not expecting a stranger or acquaintance to haul off on us verbally, to make demands. I think people act the most difficult when they believe they can get away with it. When they think you – whoever you may be – are no trouble to them. When you are seen merely as a means to an end, their end.
If you’re going to be difficult, you best have your charms.