Difficult people are a close third with death and taxes as unavoidable forces in life. The brighter you burn, the harder you work, the closer you come to your purpose – the chance you’ll encounter difficult people leaps exponentially. I’ve met a few difficult people, and I’ve been difficult more than once. The place I write from is one where I’ve been on both sides of the argument.
Manipulative individuals don’t like paperwork. The more someone urges you not to worry about a written agreement, the faster you should run away. Protect your investment. It’s good business. Publications, speaking engagements, advances on new projects, artwork commissions, and copyrights all require a contract. Keep your grip tight and legit from square one.
A quality attorney is quintessential to avoiding costly headaches. My dad told me, “Cliff, contracts save family and friendships.” True friends and real family will agree. Difficult people change the rules to suit their comfort level. Contracts keep everything clean. Signatures cannot be argued. Your art is your child. Contracts act as the kid’s health insurance.
Be empathetic, but not a pushover. Stand firm. Do not not be ashamed to say, “No.” If you get that “U-Oh Feeling,” something Greater is suggesting you take a moment to reflect. If it is a pain in your ass, and the juice isn’t worth the squeeze, you owe it to yourself to decline.
The best way to avoid difficult people is to surround yourself with good ones. Choose friends that keep your ego in check, understand your moods, gifts, foibles, and in spite of it all – loyal to the cause. There’s a natural, easy flow in relationships unburdened by pettiness. If a relationship is work, that’s to be expected. If it’s a chore, then you need to lighten the load.
Don’t let people rattle your cage. Don’t let the bastards get you down. I’ve written extensively on the chinks in my armor of self-esteem. If you can’t grow stronger, you’ll grow jagged – or give up. I try every day to be better than my mistakes. I fill my time with good works. Difficult people fill their emptiness with your anxiety. Why that’s true has no good answer. The only answer they deserve is, “No.”