We all know that annoying person who comes in to get her nails done and makes a scene with their loud voice implying “everyone look at me” attitude... Or that coworker who always has some crisis she is dealing with and mopes around the salon until you ask her what’s wrong. Have you ever thought about why they act like that? For some people, their personality definitely dictates some of this behavior, but if we really peel back the layers, there is usually some trauma at the core. 

When I say trauma, this can include multiple factors, but consider this for a moment. What if we offered support instead of eye rolls and judgment? What if we considered the question “why” and looked at these annoying or frustrating people in our life through the lens of acceptance and understanding?  What does this even look like? Let me share some ideas with you. 

  1. Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover-Some clients or co-workers seem like they’ve got it altogether, but they may be dealing with a domestic violence situation or just started meds for depression. We have no idea what has happened in people’s personal lives. Even if someone appears to be an “open book” doesn’t necessarily mean they tell you every detail of trauma they’ve experienced.
  2. Trauma and Crisis Looks Different for Every Person. Even though you may not consider something to be a crisis in your life, it doesn’t mean another person has the same coping skills or been modeled how to deal with this. We truly can’t judge how someone deals with an event because we are all unique. 
  3. People Are Resilient! We can go through hard things and overcome. With the right amount of support and acceptance, people can heal from the traumatic experiences they’ve had in their lives. 

Everyone has had a different experience with the pandemic. Some people have honestly enjoyed the extra time to be with family and get projects done. Others, having the extra time to think and be alone with their thoughts might have triggered some past emotions of isolation or abandonment. Some are neutral and are just looking forward to having some normalcy and the routine of going back to work.  It is important for us all to be mindful of this as we see clients and co-workers again, as people aren’t always upfront about how this experience has been for them at their core. 

Let us be mindful that although people can behave in a dramatic way, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are trying to get attention. We have no idea what someone has gone through so let’s act together and be supportive through the after-effects of what the next season with the pandemic reveals. We may be in different boats but we are sailing together! Here are some practical tips and tricks to deal with dramatic clients:

  • When you have clients that tend to make you feel more annoyed and frustrated, schedule those people midday so you don’t start or end your day with them. This will set the tone of your day. 
  • Try to limit questions that will lead them to only focus on the feelings such as, “How are you feeling?”You can still ask questions, but minimize feeling questions. Keep things light. 
  • Don’t fall into the drama with them. Stay calm and neutral. You can empathize with a client or coworker without falling into the urgency of what they are saying. Dramatic people love to get a reaction, so don’t fall for it!
  • Know your boundaries and stick with it. We all have behaviors that other people do that ramp up our annoyance levels. Make a list of what those are and if you have a client who meets more than 2, try to limit your interactions. It may be time to look at referring them elsewhere. 
  • Some schedule your following client with one that is positive and encouraging. This helps you to move on with your day and not get stuck in how that client made you feel. 

If you feel like you struggle with this issue or would like to know more, please contact Kate at coaching@ericasata.com. We would love to hear from you and help you tackle this issue or others you need some support with.