Everyone comes across difficult people in every aspect of life—our jobs, friendships, and yes, sometimes even our family. We can’t avoid it, but we can do something about it. It takes work, but it is definitely worth the effort.

Here are five ways to approach these situations:

1- Avoid Labeling or Judging People
If you think you are dealing with a difficult person, you are setting up the conversation to be difficult. Unconsciously, you may put people in categories and then expect them to behave the same way every time. Resist that temptation to label or judge, even if their behavior.

2- Step Back Before You Respond
Your natural response may be a quick or critical comeback, but stop yourself! That comeback may, in fact, come back to haunt you and cause the conversation to go spiraling downward. Trust that the other person does not mean to be difficult. Take time to compose yourself before responding.

3- Stop Wishing They were Different
How many times have you thought, “If only she would be more responsive or positive or reliable, or whatever differences you wish to see in this difficult person? Well, you’ve probably realized by now that wishing doesn’t work. The best way to see a change in difficult people is to change your own thinking and behavior..

4- Use a Learning Mindset Approach
Approach each interaction with an open mind—avoid making decisions or predictions before you start. Really listen to what the other person has to say and remain open to their viewpoint. When people feel your support, they will be more willing to work with you.

5- Don’t be a Difficult Person Yourself!
It’s really easy to identify when someone else is being difficult. But, how many times do you look in the mirror and acknowledge that you are the one being difficult? Take responsibility for your actions without turning to your “dark side” so that you don’t become the difficult person that others avoid.