Problem People

People are complicated. They’re a mix of a lot of things. No person on Earth exists solely to be a problem for you specifically, I promise you.

You know that too, but it’s hard to remember when you have “a problem with someone.”

So don’t have a problem with someone. Solve a problem with someone.

Problems exist independently of the people involved. Sure, some problems are severe enough that the right answer is to remove that person from your life entirely, but that’s rarely the case – and it’s rarely feasible as a first option.

Ask yourself this: “If the person I have a problem with was my only ally, and I started with the assumption that they also want this problem solved, what might I say to them then?”

Envision the problem as a separate entity. Mr. Problem is sitting on one side of the table, and you and everyone else involved are sitting on the other. You and your co-conspirators are negotiating against this entity, not each other.

Other people might not see that at first. But you do, so it’s your job to bring them along. And if you do, you’ll solve a lot of problems.

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