Finding the High Road

Every now and then, you'll encounter someone that may not be the easiest person in the world to work with.  It can happen anywhere and everywhere, and in our last community crew meeting, we ended up talking about the various situations we've been stuck in and how we've dealt (or not dealt so well) with it.
Personally, I’m a pretty passive person, I mean besides saying what I really think silently, I seem to have a lot of issue facing difficult people head on.

Sometimes it actualizes into being passive-aggressive, which isn’t really any more of an improvement and which has me retreating back into being passive. We came with up a few scenarios and solutions: 1) The difficult group member- In every club or group, there's always a breakdown of which members do what, or an executive council. Difficult situations here can include everything from having absentee members who are impossible, to other members who may overstep their boundaries of responsibility. The major solution here was to ensure that early on in the club or group dynamic, a structure of constructive feedback is set up. Crystal calls it the red light/green light game, where everyone anonymously submits what they think could be changed or improved (so for example, if you feel like the leader of the group should take on a stronger voice, you green light that). This is probably one of my favourite solutions because of the anonymity and how it can save the group a lot of awkward interactions. 2) The friend or acquaintance who has strong and passionate opinions that causes group tension. The main consensus here was to talk to the person, perhaps with the members of the group, and gently let them know how you feel. While I can see how this works, I'd be nervous about said person feeling ambushed, or (this has happened personally for me before) having it seem like it really only bothers the one friend who is being vocal (when it really affects everyone). I find this to be one of the more tricky situations. What would you do here? More often than not, I've resorted to the ducking method of simply trying to skirt around the issue, or being a slightly passive aggressive grumpy cat, which never ends well.

3) The annoying assailant in the library, you've all encountered at least one. This is the person whose movie is blasting from their headphones (for everyone else to hear) or who is trying to make sweet music with their potato chip crunchin' (while avidly avoiding librarians!). The best solution for this person would be to kindly remind them that it's a library, or let them know that you can hear them. In first year, I'd actually spent minutes on end debating if I should say anything to these noisy neighbours, and finally when push came to shove, it was necessary. This is probably the one situation that I've come to master well with a mix of being firm but polite (or hoping for the librarian to see them first, hehe). I mean at the end of the day, if the world of sitcoms (and celebrity feuds) have taught us anything, it's that you won't always encounter the most pleasant of people. What are some of the best ways you deal with difficult encounters? -Vahini

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