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From the author’s preface to the new edition:
“I originally wrote Difficult People with the workplace in mind. I drew on my work and experiences as a trainer and consultant. After publication, though, people started to tell me that the ideas, tips and strategies contained in the book were helping them to tackle difficult relationships in their private lives as well.
“It was no surprise to me that this happened. Difficult behaviour is not limited to any single context or situation. It is a facet of all human interactions that conflict and disagreements can arise. The conduct of participants will decide how well, or badly, such differences are handled. Though many people initially read the book so that they could handle an issue arising at work with more confidence, they discovered a positive side-effect in improved relationships across the board.
“As well as people from just about every kind of workplace you can imagine, I received glowing testimonials telling me how the ideas in the book had helped in non-work situations.”
“Parenting, family disputes, cantankerous relatives, teenagers, jealous partners, even acrimonious divorce… all sorts of relationships, it seems, have benefitted from this book.
“Why should this be? Learning how to handle someone else’s difficult behaviour inevitably involves learning about ourselves. We can’t control other people directly to change their behaviour, but we have unlimited control over our reactions and responses to that behaviour.
“And that’s where the real power lies. Difficult behaviour always happens in the context of a relationship. Once you have grasped the steps needed to deal with, say, someone who treats you badly at work, inevitably you will know how to tackle corresponding behaviour in any other sphere.”
The ideas in this book can be applied wherever there are people; in work, family, or social spheres. The key is to identify the pattern of behaviour you’d like to change, and to interrupt the pattern by managing how you respond. Simple as it sounds, this is not always easy to do, but this book will tell you how.