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Dealing with Difficult People in your Extracurriculars

Admit it, we’ve all had them. That one person in the group almost makes us not want to go. Whether it's a club, sport, committee, or even a hobby you do with others, there is no guarantee that everyone in the group will be easy to get along with, even with sharing a common interest like the extracurricular itself. The tension between group members can make things awkward and a whole lot less fun for everyone involved, so as hard as it can feel, using certain strategies and techniques to alleviate the uneasiness is best for everyone.

The most important strategy, in my opinion, is to not entertain them. Some people like to start arguments just for the sake of being able to argue. When you let this get to you and you start to go back and forth with them, it only fuels them, and it lets them know that they can do this with you in the future. To avoid this, practice a few conversation-ending phrases that block the other person from continuing with their argument or rant. Some examples are: 

“We’ve been arguing for a while. I think it's best just to agree to disagree.”

“You’ve given me a lot to think about, let me consider it and get back to you.”

“This is getting repetitive, let's move on to something else.”

Another thing to remember is to be careful about what you say. Discussing your problems with this person with a close friend or family member is a great way to blow off steam, clear your head, and hopefully get some helpful advice. Blowing up on social media about how horrible that person is is only a recipe for disaster. What you post on social media is never really gone, even if you delete it. Screenshots can easily be taken by any one of your hundreds of followers, and it's pretty rare that the person you post about never finds out about it. If it happened that you and that other person got into an argument that needed mediation from a higher-up, and they had screenshots of your angry rant about them on Instagram, you're done for, even if it wasn’t your fault.

One last piece of advice is to keep a cool head when going into situations with them. Reacting impulsively to someone who upsets you is never a good idea. If needed, separate yourself from the conversation and take some time to calm down before returning. If the situation happens virtually, such as over an email, never send the first draft immediately. If it helps to type out that angry response, just be careful that you save it as a draft and revisit it in the morning. Chances are, revisiting the email will cause you to want to make a few changes.

Kyra is a junior at Lasell University and is an elementary education major. She loves to hike, bake, and work with her students at daycare.
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